Ravi Ashwin’s away record has been shaky: Harbhajan Singh
The off-spinner was quick to criticise Ashwin for his toothless bowling in the second innings of the Adelaide Test.
Updated - Jan 8, 2019 11:47 am
Veteran spinner Harbhajan Singh has taken yet another shot at his former India teammate Ravi Ashwin after the latter’s rather forgettable tour of Australia. While India scripted history by winning their first-ever Test series in Australia, Ashwin did not have much to cheer about as far as the personal performance was concerned. The ace spinner’s recent struggles with injuries continued and he missed the last three games of the four-match series.
Ashwin had started the series on a brilliant note, running through Australia’s top-order in the first innings of the Adelaide Test. He dismissed Marcus Harris, Usman Khawaja and Shaun Marsh to leave Australia reeling at 87 for 4. However, he struggled to get going in the second innings and had to toil really hard to pick up the wickets. What made the matters worse for him was the injury he sustained in the series-opener and could not recover for the entire series.
In his absence, Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav made the most of the opportunities. Jadeja picked up seven wickets in the two games in addition to playing a fine 81-run in Sydney. On the other hand, Kuldeep took a stunning five-wicket haul in Sydney, that helped India to enforce follow-on on the hosts. Kuldeep also became the first Indian bowler to take a five-wicket haul across formats outside Asia.
Harbhajan not impressed with Ashwin
The off-spinner was quick to criticise Ashwin for his toothless bowling in the second innings of the Adelaide Test. Pointing out the England tour where Ashwin had sustained an injury and looked average with the ball, Harbhajan said that the Tamil Nadu star has lost his edge.
“The best I have seen R Ashwin bowl was in the first Test in England. After that, he lost his edge. He looked dull in the next Test and then got injured in the series. When he played at Southampton, he got very few wickets while Moeen Ali from the opposition got 9 wickets.”
“After that in Australia, he got 3 in the first innings of the first Test and after that had to bowl 52 overs to get the next 3 wickets. So it has to be said that his away record has been shaky and he has struggled,” Harbhajan told India Today.
Harbhajan further heaped praise on Jadeja and Kuldeep for their performances
“I think this spin pair of Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav would have won India the Sydney test match if it had not rained. Jadeja got wickets in Melbourne, got runs in Sydney. Kuldeep got a five-wicket haul at Sydney. I think we will see more of this spin pair in the time to come,” he said.
He went on to say that the left-arm spinners have added more pressure on injury-prone Ashwin and could be the combination India use in the coming days. “If your prime spinner only gets wickets at home and is injury-prone away, it will compound the team’s problems and they will have to look at options. So these two have added more pressure on their lead spinner. The lead spinner is needed in tough conditions and if you can’t play in tough conditions, it’s not fair on the team. Questions will be asked because if you knew after the first test, he would take so much more time to be fit again, you could have asked for a replacement,” Harbhajan said.