Former Pakistan captain Salman Butt feels that Ravichandran Ashwin will be included back in India’s lineup for the fourth Test against England at The Oval. Following a disappointing innings defeat at the Headingley Stadium in Leeds, Virat Kohli hinted at possible changes during his press conference.
Although he has denied the deployment of an extra batter as the team is quite content with playing five specialist bowlers, the workload also needs to be managed. India has Ravichandran Ashwin, Shardul Thakur, Axar Patel, and Umesh Yadav as backups in the bowling department and it will be interesting to see what combination the side picks for the fourth Test of the series.
Owing to a knee injury Ravindra Jadeja might miss that match but Salman Butt thinks that Ishant Sharma might miss the game as well. The lanky pacer seemed to lack match rhythm and seemed groggy during the Headingley Test.
“Ishant Sharma looked a bit off the boil in the last match and, his rhythm too was not good,” said Salman Butt.
However, Virat Kohli denied this fact in the press conference saying “I was busy in the field, and I was watching the batters from the slip. So how could I know whether he was off rhythm or having any niggle. I was just watching the batter from the slips and ready to the catches.”
Furthermore, Butt found it strange that Kohli chose to ignore those pertinent questions surrounding Ishant. As a captain, he should be paying more attention to the smallest details.
“It is strange how Kohli neglected that question related to Ishant. As a captain, you must pay attention to minute details from the bowlers’ run-up to how he starts from the bowling crease whether his rhythm is okay or not. He gave this answer, ‘I don’t know since I was watching the batsman from the slips’.” Butt added.
The exclusion of Ravichandran Ashwin from the lineup for the first three Tests has been a major point of discussion during the series. Up until now, the team has played four pacers and Ravindra Jadeja.
Ashwin, who has 413 wickets from 79 Tests in his career has been particularly outstanding this year. In the Border-Gavaskar Trophy against Australia, he was the second-highest wicket-taker for India with 12 wickets in three Tests. When India faced England at home towards the beginning of the year, Ashwin finished as the highest wicket-taker and also sealed three five-wicket hauls in four matches.
“Looking at Kohli’s answer I don’t think he will drop Sharma, but if the pitch is a bit different then he might play Ravi Ashwin and go with two spinners,” Salman Butt concluded.