Former cricketers Damien Fleming and Gerard Whateley have criticized India’s decision to exclude spinner R Ashwin from their playing XI. The experts believe that India may have overthought their strategy, which could potentially backfire against a strong New Zealand side.
Whateley highlighted India’s previous record of choosing to bat in 34 instances after winning the toss, but they deviated from this trend by leaving out Ashwin. As the first day unfolded, it became evident that India could have utilized Ashwin’s bowling skills on a pitch that offered movement.
Fleming echoed Whateley’s sentiments, emphasizing that India should have included Ashwin and expressed concerns about the team’s batting lineup. The inclusion of KS Bharat, with a low average in the series against Australia, at number six, and relying heavily on bowling all-rounders like Ravindra Jadeja raised doubts about India’s approach.
Fleming further speculated that had Australia won the toss and chosen to bowl first, they could have capitalized on early wickets to put immense pressure on India’s batting order, especially targeting Bharat and Jadeja.
With the pitch expected to offer movement for the next couple of days, Fleming suggested that if Australia manages to score a substantial 500 runs (which it eventually ended up getting), it would be incredibly challenging for India to turn the game in their favour.