Former Indian wicket-keeper batsman Farokh Engineer has backed the team management to play three fast bowlers and include Ravichandran Ashwin in the playing XI for the third Test match against England, which will take place at Leeds, Headingley.
Ashwin was dropped from the first two Test matches and a lot of cricket experts feel that the off-spinner was unlucky to miss out in the final XI.
India has gone in with four fast bowlers and Ravindra Jadeja in the first two Test matches and it would be interesting to note the team’s combination for the third Test. In fact, it has been reported that Ashwin might be included in the playing XI in place of Jadeja for the third Test.
Meanwhile, the Indian fast bowlers have taken all the 20 wickets in the first two Test matches as Jadeja has gone wicketless. In fact, it has only happened on three occasions in India’s Test history that all the 20 wickets in a Test match have been taken by the fast bowlers.
Jadeja has been in great form with the bat but hasn’t quite delivered with the ball. On the other hand, Ashwin has been in good form in the overseas conditions as he has certainly improved his numbers.
“The thing is Ashwin was due to play at Lord’s, from what I have heard. I am not privy to inside information about team tactics. But it rained, conditions became cloudy. When the conditions become cloudy, pacers are preferred. So we made the right decisions,” Engineer said in an interview with Sports Tak.”
“But at one time we may have been thinking that we should have played Ashwin. At Headingley, we should play three pacers and Ashwin. Because we will get more variety. Don’t forget, Ashwin is a very good all-rounder. He is a world class-bowler, but he is also a very good batsman. He got a brilliant hundred in Australia. And he is a fighter. We need fighters like him in the team,” he added.
“But I would play Ashwin in the next Test, he is a magician of a bowler, fighter of a batsman. Very good batsman. So, yes my vote would go to him,” he added further.
Interestingly, Ashwin revealed he was told by the think tank that he would be part of the final XI in the Lord’s Test but then it started raining on the match day.
“The funny thing was, before the match, they were like, ‘There’s a heatwave. You please be ready mate. You might play.’ Upon coming to breakfast in the morning, rains started lashing out. I asked, ‘Won’t you tell me about heatwave after it came? Why gave me hope only for it to end in disappointment!’,” Ashwin said.