Follow Us:

Always Ashwin

That Kohli was not been able to come up with any better argument to justify his prejudice than Ravindra Jadeja’s putative lower-order batting skills proved his cerebral inadequacy.

SNS | New Delhi |

References to official investigations into anything ~ demands for them or explanations for why they seem sometimes to go on ad nauseam or how they they fail to ferret the truth out ~ are such a pathetic commonplace in India that few people take them seriously.

Fewer still count on them to yield any result that will, like computers or the Duckworth-Lewis method, change lives or rain-affected limited-overs cricket for ever.

But Dilip Vengsarkar’s recent appeal for an inquiry to find out why Ravichandran Ashwin was out of India’s first-choice 11 since the Test matches in England – the off-spinner had not featured in the Twenty20 World Cup till then – will perhaps strike a responsive chord in many hearts in this land, in hopes, realistic or not, that to be able to arrive at the truth will also put an end to such mysterious occurrences clouding Indian cricket.

To call a spade a spade ~ and that, according to reliable information, is what is held against Ashwin the whole of the world has wondered aloud time and again of late about his prolonged exclusion, never mind how the team fare. He is one you pick always, whatever the format.

No pundit or pleb will deny that Aswin happens to be the finest global contempotary exponent of the art and craft of spin bowling and his awesome tally of wickets underscores why he is vitally important to the team but he seems never to have been accorded the pre-eminent position he deserves by two successive captains, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Virat Kohli.

As an intelligent, educated, honest and articulate young person, Ashwin, from all accounts, is nothing if not extremely polite and transparently sophisticated. But his characteristic attributes also endow him with a capacity for speaking what he deems the truth, which is where the rub is.

He can ~ and does ~ agree to disagree. That he is all for mankading a batsman finagling an unfair advantage is no secret: he has said it on quite a few occasions, risking general disapproval and not flinching from it.

Ashwin’ s professional growth as a cricketer had once been sought to be scuppered with sly whispers into copy-scrounging hacks’ ears that he was so much sawdust away from home ~ that was because he was winning home matches galore, making an impact which was just too big to be ignored ~ and, this year, being frozen out of the Tests in England implied being iced over, with chances that whatever success statistics he had would not even be called for from the cold storage when the captaincy would require fresh candidates.

That Kohli was not been able to come up with any better argument to justify his prejudice than Ravindra Jadeja’s putative lower-order batting skills proved his cerebral inadequacy. Ashwin’s batting record speaks for itself. Cricket boards in similar situations put in a discreet word with the captain precisely to forestall the sort of outrage that Kohli, dictatorial and self-important, has scripted.