Batting legend Sunil Gavaskar on Friday (October 4) lashed out at the Indian team management for not giving enough confidence to a bowler of Ravichandran Ashwin’s calibre.
Ashwin couldn't close out a few important overseas Tests last season and missed games due to fitness issues. Therefore, Ravindra Jadeja was preferred over him in the two-match Test series against West Indies in August.
Ashwin though made an immediate impact on return to the Test XI by claiming a couple of wickets towards the close of play on Day 2 of the ongoing first Test against South Africa in Visakhapatnam.
"Ashwin should be a certainty. The fact that he has not been made to feel the comfort level is the reason why we are seeing him struggle a little bit," Gavaskar told Star Sports during lunch on Day 3.
"He has also got to feel he has got the confidence of the people around him. When you don’t have the confidence of people around you, when you keep getting sidelined, then you try a little too hard.
"I think, there is always these little comparisons he suffers from. When playing in Australia, he is compared to Nathan Lyon. Nathan Lyon is doing that doing this. But Lyon is bowling to the Indian batsmen. Similarly, in England, when Moeen Ali got 6 or 7 wickets, you say he didn’t get any wickets’. It can happen.
"I think there is more to it than just cricketing performances which is the reason he just finds himself sidelined more often than somebody with his record should be. Somebody who has got almost 350 wickets can’t be sidelined as regularly as he has been."
Gavaskar also suggested that India don't need to go with six proper batsman at home in the ongoing series against South Africa.
"If it’s going to be hot conditions like this, you need an extra bowler. Whether it’s a spinner or seamer, it depends on the surface. I think India can afford to play 5 batsmen and with Ashwin who has 4 Test hundreds and Jadeja who is batting well with due respect to this South African attack," he opined.