India’s loss to hosts England in the third Test has brought back ghosts from the 2011 series and both former cricketers and the media have picked their villains amid the rubble of the fallout.
Shikhar Dhawan has been a non-entity so far this summer and, if we were to go by the cricket pundits, Gautam Gambhir should have replaced him in the Southampton Test, but skipper MS Dhoni elected to give the Delhi opener another go.
Clearly it did not work for him.
Besides Dhawan's presence in the side, Dhoni is also being criticized for using part-time spinner Ravindra Jadeja as his main option.
With part-time counterpart Moeen Ali performaing so well, the feeling is that Ravichandran Ashwin can be a sure shot winner.
“Gambhir in place of Shikhar Dhawan and a place for Ashwin has to be made in the side for the Manchester Test. When an English spinner can do so much, Ashwin too can spin magic on English pitches,” said former India skipper Dilip Vengsarkar.
BCCI coach and former Tamil Nadu spinner M Venkataramana also shared the Vengarsarkar’s opinion.
“The key here is that England have many left handers in their side. An off-spinner to a predominantly left-handed batting lineup is always an advantage,” said Venkataramana, who has 104 wickets in 19 Tests.
Legandary Indian off-spinner Erapalli Prasanna voiced his support for the inclusion for Ashwin as well, telling Press Trust India (PTI): “Ashwin should have played in all three Test matches. From my experience of playing in England, I can tell you that even if Ashwin plays at Old Trafford, he will come good at Oval, which can assist spinners. Jadeja should be used as a supporting option with Ashwin in lead role.”
The tricky part, however, is who will make way for Ashwin.
Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara have not clicked in this series so far, but replacing either would be suicidalfor India as both of them could come good at any moment in time.
On the other hand Jadeja and Ajinkhya Rahane have been doing well, leaving Rohit Sharma's place in the side under threat, according to Vengsarkar.
“I think Rohit should be sacrificed to make way for Ashwin. As far as Pankaj is concerned, he was unlucky and deserves another chance,” says Vengsarkar.