Ravichandran Ashwin’s likely absence in Sydney Test makes Australia happy
Ashwin has been named in the 13-man squad but his participation in the game remains doubtful.
Updated - Jan 2, 2019 2:13 pm
He made a good start to his campaign in the ongoing Test series between Australia and India. But an abdominal injury forced India’s ace off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin to sit out of the second and third Test matches of the series and now, the bowler is likely to miss the fourth and final game in Sydney after having failed a fitness Test on the eve of the Test. Though Virat Kohli’s team will be disappointed to not see Ashwin, the bowler with the highest wicket tally in the Indian squad in the game, the Australians will be glad for the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) generally offers a turning track.
Ashwin took six wickets in the opening Test in Adelaide which India won by 31 runs and his unavailability for the game in Perth saw India fielding four pacers to the surprise of many. India brought the other spinner Ravindra Jadeja for the third Test and he too had a decent game with 5 wickets. Jadeja will be a certainty for the fourth game and Ashwin’s availability would have seen India adding more to its spin power.
It’s good news, says Tim Paine
When Australian captain Tim Paine was asked about Ashwin’s likely absence at the SCG in the pre-match press meet, he said: “That’s good news. I saw him bowl yesterday and he was batting in Melbourne, so I’m surprised he’s not playing. I think conditions here would have suited him really nicely. Normally it spins quite a bit and with his height, he would’ve been a handful, so I think some of our batters will be pretty happy to hear that news.”
However, Paine did not forget to mention that India have other spinners of decent capacity in their squad in the likes of Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav who has not played in any Test this series and was named in the 13-man squad. Ashwin though was also included in the squad along with Jadeja.
“But we know they’ve got some other spinners in their squad, Kuldeep is younger but got some serious talent and Jadeja did the job for them in Melbourne,” Paine said.
The SCG is known to be a spinner-friendly surface where Australian spinning duo of Shane Warne and Stuart McGill has picked 117 wickets between them. India’s Anil Kumble has taken 29 wickets at this venue in three matches. Ashwin’s presence would have bolstered India’s bowling attack against an Australian side which has as many as five left-handed batsmen.