Former Indian skipper Sunil Gavaskar was not so pleased with India’s team selection during their first Test encounter against West Indies on Thursday and the great expressed his disappointment at experienced spin bowler Ravichandran Ashwin missing the match despite his brilliant record in the Carribean.
“It astonished me. A man with that kind of record, especially against West Indies. He doesn’t find a place in this playing XI. That is stunning. Astonishing.” Gavaskar said during commentary.
Ashwin has played 11 matches against West Indies and has picked up 60 wickets at an impressive average of 21.85 and with a strike rate of 46.2. The last series India played in West Indies was back in 2016, he bagged 17 wickets and was the Man of the Series. Back then, he had raced away to 350 runs.
However, Indian Cricket team decided to go with three pace options - Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma - with Ravindra Jadeja as the only spin option.
There was also no place in the final eleven for Rohit Sharma with Hanuman Vihari and Ajinkya Rahane preferred in the middle-order of a batting line-up where Indian skipper Virat Kohli has been the star performer so far in this campaign.
In a surprise move, West Indies didn't include first-choice wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich and gave chance to a 30-year-old debutant to middle-order batsman Shamarh Brooks. Shai Hope will do duties behind the stumps for the match.
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Earlier, West Indies Cricket skipper Jason Holder won the toss and chose to ball first. The visitors were off to a disappointing start as they lost their first 3 wickets quite early with Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli all getting dismissed in the very first hour of the match.
This was the first time after 16 innings that India lost their first two wickets for single digit runs. The last time this happened was way back in 28 June 2011 when Abhinav Mukund and Rahul Dravid were dismissed for 8 at Bridgetown.
West Indies Squad
Jason Holder (captain), Kraigg Brathwaite, John Campbell, Shai Hope (wicketkeeper), Shimron Hetmyer, Darren Bravo, Roston Chase, Shamarh Brooks, Kemar Roach, Miguel Cummins, Shannon Gabriel
Virat Kohli (captain), K.L. Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wicketkeeper), Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma