New Delhi: The decision to leave out star Team India spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja from the current ODI series in Sri Lanka seems to have caught the eye of veteran Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh. However, the Turbanator stated that he was unsure whether Ashwin had been dropped or rested by the selectors.
"I am not sure if R Ashwin has been rested or dropped. We have seen reports that Ashwin has been rested but at the same time in his rest period, he is going to England to play county cricket. So I don't know what kind of rest it is going to be. I am not sure whether he has been rested or dropped," Harbhajan was quoted as saying by India Today.
Not only Harbhajan but former India captain Sourav Ganguly also raised questions about Ashwin’s permanent spot in Virat Kohli’s ODI side despite enthralling performances in the longer format.
"I know where Harbhajan Singh is coming from because whether it is him or me we have seen such situations very closely in teams and understand the team dynamics. Ashwin's performance in Sri Lanka has been in the Test matches. In sub-continent conditions, in Test matches, there are no doubts about R Ashwin's place. But I have a feeling that Kuldeep Yadav is slowly going to get into the ODI side as a frontline spinner, especially on pitches which do not respond to the spinners when they go to South Africa, England and Australia and considering they are going to play the World Cup in England", said Ganguly.
Ashwin and Jadeja together were helpless in the ICC Champions Trophy final that India lost to arch-rivals Pakistan, leaking runs from all round the park. But for Ganguly, leg-spinner Kuldeep Yadav may come handy in such conditions.
"I was present at the Champions Trophy commentating and I could get a feeling around that there could be a possibility in due course that both Jadeja and Ashwin don't play on good pitches. Jadeja is a far better fielder, he can bat, he is a left arm spinner who is good in one-day cricket. So Jadeja is a package in ODI cricket.
We have been hearing Virat Kohli harping on fitness with Yuvraj Singh not getting past the fitness mark and R Ashwin is probably not the quickest on the field and all these considerations will come back. If Kuldeep Yadav keeps performing then I think there will be pressure on either R Ashwin or Jadeja and Jadeja's fielding and batting could just be a bit more beneficial to him", added the former India captain.
The Uttar Pradesh spinner was left on the bench for the 1st ODI against Sri Lanka, but for Harbhajan, Kuldeep will get an opportunity for the extra benefits he brings to the Indian team.
"It is a good opportunity for Kuldeep Yadav to showcase his talent and start winning games for India. He has done well in whatever limited opportunities he has got. He is different to the other spinners who are usually wrist spinners or finger spinners but Kuldeep is someone who bowls Chinaman and he brings a lot to the table in terms of variety so hopefully he will be good," Harbhajan added.
The Men in Blue comprehensively won the 1st ODI against the Lankans with a 9-wicket victory, thanks to a fine bowling performance from the Indian spinners in the first innings. Axar Patel, who was picked ahead of Kuldeep in the side, scalped 3 wickets while spin partner Yuzvendra Chahal claimed 2 wickets with Kedar Jadhav dismissing 2 Sri Lankan batsmen.