Former India bowler Laxman Sivaramakrishnan launched an all-out tirade against veteran off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin after the latter found a place in the 15-men squad for the upcoming Cricket World Cup.
“Indian batsman are struggling against spin because the pitches in India are doctored for Ashwin in Test matches. Look at his record in SENA Countries,” Laxman Sivaramakrishnan said on Twitter.
“Any fool will get wickets on tampered pitches in India. Go straight from the airport to the ground and tell the ground staff what areas to tamper, I have seen with my own eyes several times,” former India leg-spinner added.
“378 wickets in India. He is still playing because there is nobody else. Liability fielder – 20. Most unfit cricketer. Gives excuses for everything,” Laxman Sivaramakrishnan elaborated, explaining the reasons behind his explosive rant against Ravichandran Ashwin.
It is worth mentioning that Ravichandran Ashwin only made it into the Indian cricket team after Axar Patel, initially picked for the World Cup, got injured at the last minute.
Axar Patel suffered a quadriceps injury during India's match against Bangladesh in the Asia Cup in Sri Lanka last month.
The left-arm orthodox bowler was sent to the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru to expedite his recovery but failed to get fit for the tournament.
Notably, Ravichandran Ashwin, who last played an ODI in January 2022 before being drafted into the Indian team for the recently concluded three-match series against Australia, impressed almost everyone, including the fans, selectors and former players with his performance against Pat Cummins and his boys.
In the two games he played against the Kangaroos, Ravichandran Ashwin grabbed four wickets. His figures of 3/41 in Indore, where he posed serious problems for Australian batters, appear to have convinced skipper Rohit Sharma and head coach Rahul Dravid to recall him for the World Cup.
Besides, the World Cup is being played in India, handing Ravichandran Ashwin a massive advantage in home conditions. With his wide range of variations and ability to impart turn on his stock balls, he could be lethal on slow and dry Indian pitches.
Ravichandran Ashwin will be a part of a trio of spinners that features Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav in the Indian bowling line-up.
“India have been forced to make a late change to their 15-member squad for the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup. Axar Patel has failed to recover in time for the World Cup after sustaining a left quadriceps strain during India's Asia Cup Super Four encounter against Bangladesh. The spin-bowling all-rounder missed the final of the Asia Cup as a result. Veteran spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has been named his replacement, who was impressive on his return to ODI cricket in the recently concluded series against Australia where he picked up four wickets in two games,” the International Cricket Council (ICC) said on its official website.
For the unversed, Ravichandran Ashwin is only the second cricketer who was also a part of India's previous World Cup triumph in 2011, the other being talismanic batter Virat Kohli.
Like Laxman Sivaramakrishnan, all-rounder Yuvraj Singh was unhappy with the move of the national selectors as he wanted either Yuzvendra Chahal or Washington Sundar to replace Axar Patel and not Ravichandran Ashwin.
“I personally feel the only miss in this side is Yuzvendra Chahal. I think the only aspect that is missing from this team is a leg-spinner,” Yuvraj Singh said at a public event in Delhi.
“I was very keen to see Washington Sundar in the side if we are not picking up Yuzi. But maybe the team wanted an experienced bowler, so that is why I think they went with R Ashwin,” he added.
Before Yuvraj Singh, an Indian cricket pundit alleged a wild conspiracy theory behind Ravichandran Ashwin's inclusion in India's ODI World Cup squad.
According to the bombshell claim made by cricket columnist Ayaz Memon, Indian captain Rohit Sharma was aware of Axar Patel's situation for multiple weeks.
He even knew that the Gujarat cricketer would not be fit for the World Cup, yet the Indian team management continued to peddle lies about Axar Patel's fitness.
Additionally, the Team India think tank comprising Rohit Sharma and head coach Rahul Dravid realized that three left-arm spinners were just too many, and they needed someone of Ravichandran Ashwin's experience in the line-up.
“Injured Axar Patel out of WC, replaced by Ashwin. This was approved some weeks back but team management shrewdly threw everyone off the scent. 3 left arm spinners in squad was one too many. Also, no one's performed better on Indian pitches than Ash. Team looks complete now,” Ayaz Memon said in a social media post.
India's squad for ICC ODI World Cup: Rohit Sharma (captain), Hardik Pandya, Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav.