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Learn from Ashwin to turn WTC final snub into another step to success

Learn from Ravichandran Ashwin to turn WTC final snub into another step to success. Ashwin took 12-wicket haul against West Indies in first Test match.

WI vs IND, 1st Test: Ravichandran Ashwin took 12 wickets against West Indies in first Test match;India beat WI _ Walking Wicket (Images_ ©BCCI_Twitter)
Ashwin took 12 wickets against West Indies in first Test match (Images: ©BCCI/Twitter)

In between two Tests, India’s team management realised the error they committed by leaving out Ravichandran Ashwin from the World Test Championship Final 2023. Former players, including Sachin Tendulkar, critics and commentators were aghast at seeing Ashwin warming the benches in the WTC final that India went on to lose by 209 runs against Australia. A month later, Ashwin took 12 wickets to help India beat West Indies by an innings and 141 runs in the first Test at Dominica.

WTC Final snub didn’t brittle Ashwin

Although there is a wide gap between the Australian and West Indian Test sides, the two results showed that Ashwin is too good a player to be left out against any opponent, and on any surface, home or away. It also showed how quickly Ashwin got back to doing what he does best – taking wickets – after the WTC final snub. For a player who plays only the longer version of the game, and is the highest wicket-taker for his team in the WTC 2021-23 cycle with 61 wickets in 13 games, being left out of the final could be heart-breaking. But Ashwin is a champion bowler, and even better at having a strong mindset to leave disappointment behind and produce match-winning and magical performances consistently. Quite outspoken, Ashwin made no bones about being disappointed for being left out of the final. He said, “Winning the WTC Final is the most important thing and it could have been a very high point in my career and I could have played a good role in it.” But putting the snub behind himself, he ensured it does not affect the atmosphere in the dressing room, while he waited for his next opportunity to prove his worth yet once again. He said, “Sulking over being dropped won’t make a difference. The difference between me and the person sulking is that I want to move on and perform on the field,” he said. This proves a lot about Ashwin’s maturity as a cricketer, and how tough he is mentally to ensure Indian cricket blossoms while putting individual emotions behind.

WI vs IND, 1st Test_ Ravichandran Ashwin took 12 wickets against West Indies in first Test match;India beat WI _ Walking Wicket (Images_ ©BCCI_Twitter)
Ashwin helps India finish the game in three-days time against WI (Images: ©BCCI/Twitter)
Ashwin came back with a bang against West Indies

And Ashwin did come back with a bang. The West Indians had to suffer the full wrath of his variations in the Dominica Test. With his first wicket of Tagenarine Chanderpaul on the first day of the Test, Ashwin showed his mastery over his skills. He had set up Chanderpaul brilliantly, bowling into the left-hander from wide of the crease round the wicket. But with the same angle, same action and the same bowling mark, Ashwin got the ball to turn sharply away from Chanderpaul to have him bowled while the West Indian played for the ball to drift into him. A class act from Ashwin. Another of Ashwin’s brilliance with the ball came to the fore when he read the West Indian captain Kraigg Brathwaite’s weakness early on. In the post-match event, Ashwin revealed that he found out that “when the round-arm action was coming in, he (Brathwaite) was losing his head." Exploiting this weakness, he got Brathwaite to edge to the slips to Ajinkya Rahane. Ashwin said he is not only looking at the pitch for the right pace to bowl but also at the batters to exploit their weaknesses.

Ashwin’s achievements

Ashwin’s mastery over spin bowling earned a few achievements after he completed a 12-wicket haul.

  • He became the first Indian player to dismiss both father and son – Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Tagenarine Chanderpaul – in Tests.

  • He has the joint most 10-wicket hauls (8) with Anil Kumble for an Indian bowler and is just one behind the former India captain for the most five-wicket hauls (34); and third most international wickets (709) for an Indian after Harbhajan Singh (711) and Anil Kumble (956).

But despite the achievements, his proven credentials as a match-winner, and taking wickets and winning matches even on overseas tours, Ashwin was benched for the WTC final which proved to be costly for India in the end. It’s high time that India trusts Ashwin to deliver on foreign pitches that may not be conducive for spin bowling as Ashwin’s bowling skills and mastery over his art could help him bag wickets and win matches.

Would Sri Lanka or Australia have benched their top-class spinners in Muttiah Muralitharan and Shane Warne on pace-friendly wickets overseas? No, right. As they were class bowlers who can take wickets on any pitch. So does, Ashwin.


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