Shaun Pollock believes India will bring Ashwin against Proteas
After South Africa's dismal show against Pakistani spinners, Ashwin's inclusion in the Indian line-up makes a lot of sense
Updated - Jun 10, 2017 6:25 pm
Former Proteas captain Shaun Pollock thinks that the encounter between India and South Africa is the right time to unleash the off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin. He hasn’t played a game so far and South Africa’s weakness against spin would mean that it would be the perfect occasion for the Indian team to bank on the experience and skill of Ashwin.
He has a stunning record against Proteas wherein the four-Test series in 2015, he claimed 31 wickets at a spectacular average of 11.12 but his record against them in ODIs is relatively mediocre. In the six ODIs he has played against South Africa, Ashwin has bagged five wickets at 54.20.
However, before the start of the Champions Trophy, he had mentioned that he has a bag of new tricks that he was waiting to execute in the tournament. He was also seen bowling leg-spin frequently in the practice sessions. In all likelihood, the virtual qualifier between the two sides at the Oval on Sunday will be his golden chance to improve the numbers against the side and execute his new tricks.
Speaking to Sport24, the 43-year-old also emphasized that Ashwin’s chances of making it into the Playing XI for the match would also be because of the dismal show of Indian bowlers in the match against Sri Lanka where India were thumped for 7 wickets. While the pacers were expected to receive a hammering on a belter, even Jadeja could not do much to contain the damage.
Ashwin, in this situation, becomes Kohli’s best option.“I was quite surprised at just how well Sri Lanka played. It was a really good surface, and the same one will be used on Sunday,” said Pollock, as reported by Hindustan Times.
“I’m sure India will change their side; I think they will bring Ashwin in to create some variation, especially after the way we played against the (Pakistan) spinners. It would make sense for them to get more spin options in,” he added.
On South Africa’s chances
The former South Africa medium-pacer also expressed the disappointment after losing against Pakistan, leading them into a knock-out situation. In spite of the side being in an unfavorable situation, Pollock was positive about the Proteas as he indicated that the side hasn’t performed to their potential.
Had South Africa won against Pakistan, their last game would not be as intense a contest as it is expected to be. However, only one of India and South Africa will qualify for the semi-finals, unless the rain plays spoilsport in the remaining matches.
“Look, at some stage of this tournament, you have to face the elimination possibility. So we’re really just facing that (scenario) one game earlier than if we’d got safely into the semis already,” said Pollock.
“But my thinking is also that we haven’t actually fired properly as yet, which is a good thing. In previous tournaments, we have sometimes fired up front and then fallen by the wayside later on. This time, we’re in a situation where if we win three games in a row, we’ve won the trophy.”
“So I wouldn’t be too worried; there are also a few guys in our ranks who haven’t performed as well as they would have liked and will be keen to get going (on Sunday),” he concluded.