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SA vs IND | Veteran Spinner Backs Ashwin Over Shardul Thakur For Boxing Day Test At Centurion

image-lqlz2px2Ashwin alongside his partner-in-crime, Jadeja (x.com)

The legendary Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh prefers to see Ravichandran Ashwin instead of seam-bowling all-rounder Shardul Thakur in India’s 1st Test against South Africa in Centurion. The first Test of the two-match Test series is expected to take place at the SuperSport Park Stadium on December 26.

It has been a popular belief for the touring Asian teams to go with a five-bowlers strategy comprising three frontline pacers and one spin & seam bowling all-rounder. However, with Mohammed Shami being ruled out of the entire Test series, Prasidh Krishna is likely to acquire his spot in the playing Xl.

Hence the turbinator believes that the visitors will need to consolidate their depth in the batting department, something Ashwin can competitively account for. On his YouTube channel, Harbhajan further elaborated on the reasons behind his belief that Ashwin could extract greater benefits from the pitch compared to Shardul Thakur.

For number 7, Ravindra Jadeja but the biggest question comes at number 8 with Ashwin and Shardul available. I feel Ashwin should play at number 8 because you have Jasprit Bumrah for number 9, Siraj for 10, and Prasidh Krishna for 11. Here I feel the conditions will be hot, the pitch will be hard, the bounce will be there and you have three pacers so I think India should go with two spinners," Harbhajan said on his Youtube channel. 

"I feel South Africa would love to place pace so I think you should play on your strengths. I feel Ashwin should play but I don't see that happening," he added.

South African pitches provide fast bounce and tend to retain a lot of moisture making them an ideal hunting ground for the seamers. As India aims to secure their maiden away Test series victory against South Africa, it remains to be seen whether the highly experienced spinner will get a chance to showcase his magic in predominately seaming-friendly conditions.