In the highly anticipated World Test Championship (WTC) Final 2023, cricket enthusiasts witnessed a riveting contest between Team India and Team Australia. However, the match was not without its share of controversies, especially concerning Team India’s selection choices. One such issue that garnered widespread attention was the exclusion of ace spinner Ravichandran Ashwin from the starting XI. Among the notable personalities who voiced their concerns on this matter was none other than cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar. This article delves deep into Sachin Tendulkar’s comments on Ashwin’s exclusion and explores the potential impact of this decision on the outcome of the WTC Final 2023.
Sachin Tendulkar Congratulates Team Australia
Before delving into the matter of Ashwin’s exclusion, it is essential to note that Sachin Tendulkar extended his heartfelt congratulations to Team Australia for their victory in the WTC Final 2023. He commended the outstanding performances of Australian cricketers Steve Smith and Travis Head, who laid a solid foundation for their team’s success during the initial innings. Despite his concerns about Team India’s selection choices, Tendulkar acknowledged the commendable efforts of the Indian cricketers throughout the match.
The Exclusion of Ravichandran Ashwin: Tendulkar’s Thoughts
One of Tendulkar’s primary concerns pertained to the exclusion of Ravichandran Ashwin, the world’s top-ranked Test bowler, from Team India’s playing XI. In a tweet, he expressed his inability to comprehend this decision, especially considering Ashwin’s exceptional skills and accomplishments in the Test cricket format. Tendulkar further emphasized the importance of skillful spinners, asserting that they could leverage variables such as drift in the air and surface bounce to deliver match-winning performances, even on pitches that don’t offer much assistance to spinners.
The Significance of Ashwin for Team India
Tendulkar’s concerns about Ashwin’s exclusion were not unfounded, considering the spinner’s impressive track record in Test cricket. As the number one bowler in the format, Ashwin has been instrumental in scripting numerous victories for Team India. His ability to exploit the weaknesses of left-handed batsmen, coupled with his variations and guile, would have been invaluable against an Australian lineup featuring five left-handers in the top eight. Consequently, Ashwin’s absence from the playing XI was a significant talking point among cricket experts and fans alike.
Rohit Sharma Faces Criticism for Ashwin’s Exclusion
Indian skipper Rohit Sharma bore the brunt of the criticism for the decision to exclude Ashwin from the starting XI. Several cricket veterans and Team India supporters expressed their displeasure over this choice, echoing Tendulkar’s concerns. Given Ashwin’s proven abilities and ranking, many believed that his inclusion would have bolstered India’s chances in the high-stakes final.
Sunil Gavaskar’s Disapproval of Team India’s Decision
Legendary Indian cricketer Sunil Gavaskar was among those who questioned the rationale behind Ashwin’s exclusion. In an interview with Star Sports, Gavaskar argued that a bowler of Ashwin’s caliber should have been included in the team, irrespective of the pitch conditions. He also suggested that Ashwin could have been picked in place of Umesh Yadav, who seemed out of form and rhythm during the match.
Ricky Ponting’s Perspective on Ashwin’s Absence
Former Australian skipper Ricky Ponting also expressed his surprise at Ashwin’s exclusion, given the number of left-handed batsmen in the Australian lineup. Ponting believed that Ashwin would have been a more effective bowling option than Ravindra Jadeja, who was picked over him. Moreover, Ponting opined that the selection dilemma should have been between Shardul Thakur and Umesh Yadav, with Thakur being his preferred choice as the workhorse to support the strike bowlers Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj.
The Impact of Ashwin’s Exclusion on the WTC Final 2023
While it is impossible to ascertain the precise impact of Ashwin’s absence on the outcome of the WTC Final 2023, it is evident that his inclusion could have bolstered Team India’s bowling attack. With his experience, variations, and ability to exploit left-handed batsmen’s weaknesses, Ashwin might have posed a significant challenge to the Australian lineup. Furthermore, his presence could have eased the burden on other bowlers, allowing them to perform more effectively in the high-pressure situations typical of a championship final.
Lessons to be Learned from the WTC Final 2023
The controversy surrounding Ashwin’s exclusion from Team India’s playing XI serves as a crucial lesson for the team management and selectors. It highlights the importance of making well-informed selection choices based on players’ skills, track records, and potential match-ups against the opposition. Moving forward, it is crucial for Team India to strike the right balance between experimentation and reliance on proven performers, especially in high-stakes matches such as the WTC Final.