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Muskaan ∙ Updated: Jun 8 2023, 2:06 PM | 2 Min Read

 "I think that’s where India missed...": Gavaskar Talks About Sharma's Big Blunder Of Benching Ashwin

image-limtnxsfR Ashwin is currently ranked as ICC's No.1 Test Bowler. (Twitter)

Sunil Gavaskar expressed his surprise and confusion over India's decision to exclude R Ashwin from the starting eleven in the World Test Championship final against Australia at the Oval. Despite winning the toss and choosing to bowl on the first day, India's decision did not yield the desired outcome as Australia managed to score 327 for 3, putting India on the backfoot. 

Ashwin, who ranks third in terms of the highest wicket-takers during the WTC 2021-23 cycle with 61 wickets, is also the top-ranked bowler in the ICC Test rankings. Furthermore, Ashwin had previously troubled Australia during the Border-Gavaskar trophy, where he claimed 25 wickets and shared the Player of the Series award with Ravindra Jadeja.

After India's challenging performance on the first day of the WTC Final, doubts and inquiries emerged regarding India's decision to exclude R Ashwin from the match. 

Sunil Gavaskar has now shared his viewpoint on the matter, stating that India should have selected the off-spinner, and he expressed his bewilderment over the choice to leave Ashwin out of the team.

"Well, first and foremost, they could have R Ashwin in the team (what India could have done differently on Day 1?). It really baffles me irrespective of what the conditions are, the No. 1 bowler in the ICC rankings is not able to find a place in the Indian playing XI. That is something that has baffled me all the time whenever it’s Ashwin. Even the last time when India were here (in England), they were just not picking him," Gavaskar told to Starsports.

According to Gavaskar, Umesh Yadav and Shardul Thakur were not adequately prepared for the WTC Final due to their limited bowling opportunities in the recently concluded IPL. Umesh bowled 14 overs without taking any wickets and conceded 54 runs, while Shardul managed to claim one wicket in his 18 overs but conceded 75 runs.

"Sometimes, you get a little carried away. If you have 4 quality seam bowlers, it’s a different thing. Top-quality seam bowlers. Two of our seam bowlers were undercooked. One is Umesh Yadav, who did not play in the last few matches for KKR and Shardul Thakur. Both of them who hadn’t bowled a lot. On the other hand, you had two bowlers who played every single game for their franchises. They might have been little overcooked despite it being a 4-over spell," he added.