After picking seven wickets in the opening Test against England at Edgbaston, R Ashwin has managed to pick just 4 more wicket in the next three Tests. In fact, while Moeen Ali won England the fourth Test by picking 9 wickets, Ashwin managed just 3. Former India spinner Harbhajan Singh has come down heavily on the experienced campaigner and said that the off-spinner’s inability to pick wickets has seen England take an unassailable 3-1 lead in the Test series.
“There was so much help available on this wicket (Southampton) for the off-spinners. Just landing the ball at that particular rough patch would have fetched a lot of wickets. That is exactly what Moeen Ali did and got so many wickets. India lost the match where Moeen Ali bowled better than R Ashwin. For the first time, I saw England spinners bowling better than our spinners. Him (Ashwin) not being able to take wickets is the reason why we are 1-3 behind in the series,” Harbhajan Singh told India Today.
“Ashwin is a great bowler and has achieved so much for India. But he failed to take wickets when it mattered the most — that is on Day 3. Had he taken just two or three wickets, not even a five-wicket haul, then India would have been chasing a target of 160-170 runs for victory which was very much achievable.”
Ashwin had injured his hip during the third Test at Trent Bridge, but Harbhajan said that was an area for the team management to look into and if he was a 100 per cent, he didn’t bowl like he was expected to as a senior bowler.
“I really don’t know how serious was Ashwin’s injury. If it was serious then the team management should have known it. And if he was really fit then he failed to bowl like it was expected of him. Moeen Ali was making a comeback in the England team and won the Man of the Match award. He is a very good bowler though does not rate himself so highly. He will always bowl better than the rest as his trajectory is very good. Indian team has not been able to find any solution to his bowling since 2014 when he performed exceptionally well against us at the same venue,” he said.