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India's out of favour off-spinner Harbhajan Singh expressed his doubts about Ravichandran Ashwin's return to the India's ODI squad. He believes that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is paying a lot of attention to the fitness of its players and that will not work in the favour of Ashwin.
Commenting on Ashwin, Harbhajan stated, “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."
He insisted that the selection committee will favour Ravindra Jadeja over Ashwin. "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,” he added.
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In the recent limited over matches, Ashwin proved to be quite expensive for the Indian team. Moreover, his fielding caused many eyebrows to raise in doubt. He seemed to struggle in order to keep up with the on-field demands.
On the other hand, the current Indian squad (ODI) is definitely inclined towards the fitness of all the team members. It was earlier speculated that Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina were rested from the first ODI because they failed in the endurance test at the National Cricket Academy.
India's Turbanator claimed that captain Kohli is drawn towards fitness and is very particular about the physical and mental state of the players. Drawing a comparison between the performances delivered by Jadeja and Ashwin during the ICC Champions Trophy earlier this year, Harbhajan stated that Jadeja has better odds of being included in the team.
He further argues that Yuvraj and Raina did not perform very well in the fitness tests and thus were not included in the team. Hence, if the selection committee is this strict in determining the criterion of the eligible players, then Ashwin has minimal chances of donning the blue jersey.
He then moved onto praise Kuldeep Yadav and justified his presence in the ODI squad. He believes that Yadav has an excellent opportunity to showcase all his talents and the latter should make good use of it.
India will next take on Sri Lanka in the second ODI scheduled to take place at Pallakelle on 24th August.
The fitness of the players plays a crucial role during the match, especially in a limited over format. It is expected from the players to remain highly alert and give their 100 percent when it comes to fielding as well.
If we compare Ashwin and Jadeja, the latter has proved himself in all the formats of the game. Moreover, Jadeja has displayed excellent skills and bears the trust of his team when it comes to fielding. Ashwin, on the other hand, carries a sole jewel on his crown that boasts of his experience.
Thus, Jadeja definitely seems a better option when compared to Ashwin with regard to a spot in India's ODI squad. It will be interesting to see how the selection committee goes about this approach.