‘Need to back the XI that management has picked’ – Mohammed Shami on R Ashwin’s exclusion at Headingley
Ashwin is yet to feature in the England series.
Updated - Aug 27, 2021 4:08 pm
Mohammed Shami has come out and said that the Indian team needs to back the XI which they select for a given Test match. After India failed to bowl England out on day two of the Headingley Test, the Indian pacer who was the pick of the bowlers was asked about the exclusion of Ravichandran Ashwin for the third Test in a row.
There has been a bit of chatter around the fact that Ashwin isn’t in India’s playing XI. Indian skipper Virat Kohli had said after the first Test that the team is going to back a four-seamer attack during the ongoing series in England and the same has been followed.
Ahead of the Lord’s and Headingley Test, it felt Ashwin was in consideration leading into the matches but was eventually not given a spot. There are questions over the selection more so because of how India has played in the third Test so far. After being bowled out for just 78 runs in the first innings, they let England get to 423 for 8 at stumps on day two.
The pitch was very slow on day two: Mohammed Shami
At the press conference after day two, Shami was asked about the team selection, to which he responded. “I wouldn’t like to comment on the selection. That’s a team management decision. The XI that’s there on the field will have to do the job. We need to back and trust the XI that the team management has picked. You can’t think of it [selection] too much,” Shami said.
The wicket at Headingley did a fair bit in the first two sessions of the Test on day one. But, as the Englishmen came out to bat the wicket started getting better. On day two, the conditions were not easy for the bowlers, with the wicket offering close to nothing for the seamers or spinners. Shami ended the day with three key scalps of Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, and Jonny Bairstow. He also explained how the wicket behaved on day two.
“As the pitch slows down, it gets difficult with less bounce and less carry. As you saw, we also got the edges. When the wicket slows down, it stops swinging and seaming. The chances of getting reverse swing reduce in such conditions where the wicket is green. The pitch was very slow today. The key is not to overthink and understand how the wicket is behaving and adapt accordingly. If it’s slow, then the key is to bowl a good line and length,” Shami said.