Former Indian batsman VVS Laxman wants the team’s think tank to make two changes to their playing XI for the Lord’s Test match. Shardul Thakur has been ruled out of the second Test match due to a hamstring injury.
Thus, Laxman, who is well known for his piece de resistance knock of 281 runs against Australia at Kolkata, wants Ashwin to replace Thakur as he feels the veteran off-spinner can deliver irrespective of the conditions on offer.
On the other hand, Laxman wants Ishant Sharma to play in place of Mohammed Siraj, who had done a decent job in the first Test match. Ishant has all the experience under his belt but he could not play the opening Test as he had a niggle.
There is no doubt that Ashwin was unlucky to miss out in the first Test match as he has been in good form. Ashwin had scalped four wickets in the World Test Championship final against New Zealand and has definitely improved his performances while bowling in the foreign conditions.
Furthermore, the off-spinner had snared 12 wickets in three Test matches against Australia and he has been at his best. Moreover, Ashwin can also contribute with the bat while batting down the order. Ashwin has an average of 28.11 in England conditions.
“I hope they’ll make the right call by taking Ashwin in the XI,” Laxman told ESPNCricinfo. “I would bring Ashwin in place of Shardul Thakur,” he said.
“I’ve mentioned before that he’s a more than capable bowler to perform in any condition. He’s a skilled bowler. He’s someone who has over 400 wickets. Anyone who has that many wickets knows how to adapt to different conditions. Ashwin will add variety and strength to the bowling line-up,” Laxman added.
“He can also contribute with the bat, we know that he’s got 5 Test hundreds. Ashwin will give Virat Kohli options irrespective of what type of conditions they play in,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ishant Sharma was India’s highest wicket-taker against England in the 2018 series as he had scalped 18 wickets in five Test matches.
“If Ishant Sharma is 100% fit then straight away he comes in place of Siraj. But if Ishant is not 100% then I would back Siraj to play after seeing how he bowled in Nottingham. You don’t want to risk Ishant as he is such an important member of the team,” Laxman added.