Star India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has been accused of “humiliating” Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma ahead of the Test series against Australia.

In a massive snub to Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, Ravichandran Ashwin claimed that the star duo would not be the main batters for India during the forthcoming series against Australia. Instead, he described middle-order batter Shreyas Iyer as the “backbone” of the Indian batting line-up.


Ravichandran Ashwin’s remarks about Shreyas Iyer came in the context of Rishabh Pant’s absence from the India squad for the Test series against Australia.

The explosive wicketkeeper batter would miss the Border Gavaskar Trophy and a large part of other cricketing action in 2023 due to a horrific accident he suffered on December 30.

“Shreyas Iyer has been India’s go-to Test batter alongside Rishabh Pant in the last couple of years. That in itself is a lesser compliment for him. He has been the backbone of this batting order. He is going to be a crucial player for India in Pant’s absence,” Ravichandran Ashwin said on his YouTube channel.

However, Shreyas Iyer would not be a part of the first Test in Vidarbha, a prominent cricket website reported.

According to the report, Shreyas Iyer was at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru on Wednesday for a fitness assessment. But the authorities at the NCA informed him that he would have to remain in rehab for a few more days.

The officials at the NCA told him he was yet to completely recover from a back issue that he had experienced in January, ruling him out of the recent One-Day Internationals against New Zealand.

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After featuring in the two Test matches against Bangladesh in December, Shreyas Iyer complained of pain in his lower back. Subsequently, the batsman went to rehab at the NCA, where he got an injection from the doctors to overcome the problem.

Shreyas Iyer was to join the Rohit Sharma-led side in Nagpur for the national team’s preparatory camp after getting a fitness certificate from Bengaluru.

However, the publication further claimed that there was nothing serious about Shreyas Iyer’s injury and it was just a precautionary measure by the BCCI medical board. After the latest development, the Mumbai cricketer would meet his India teammates in Delhi for the second Test, which begins in the national capital on February 17.

Shreyas Iyer’s injury is considered to be a massive setback for Team India, as he’s a vital cog in their middle order. Though he has only appeared in seven Tests for India, his average and strike rate has been quite impressive in his short stint in national colors.

Averaging a healthy 56.72 and having an impressive strike rate of 65, Shreyas Iyer has successfully provided the Indian team with an aggressive push in the middle overs and helped captain Rohit Sharma get some much-needed quick runs.

Shreyas Iyer made his debut against New Zealand in 2021, scoring his maiden Test hundred in his first innings in whites before completing a fifty in the second essay. In the Test series against Bangladesh in December 2022, Shreyas Iyer was India’s second-highest run-scorer with 202 runs in three knocks. His 202 runs also included two half-centuries.

Besides his remarks about Shreyas Iyer, Ravichandran Ashwin fired back at Australia great Ian Healy after the latter accused Team India of instructing groundsmen to prepare “unfair” pitches for the four-match Test series against the Kangaroos.

“Anyway, an Australian broadcaster and former player Ian Healy has given a few gems before the BGT. He has given a few statements that say Indians will make sure Australian feel uncomfortable in India – “I don’t believe they will give us wickets that will look even slightly closer to what we will actually get during a game.” So he has said that Australia’s approach is only correct. The support staffs might have given their opinion, but Ian Healy’s quote has set a spark with this take. It’s Border-Gavaskar Trophy guys. So we need this spark, right? Besides, banters will keep coming from the Australian camp for sure. We saw what Steve Smith and Usman Khawaja had to say. Eben Marnus Labuschagne and Matt Renshaw have said some controversial things. Renshaw said that you need to analyse a few things in India like who is taking the new ball and stuff,” Ravichandran Ashwin said.

India’s squad for the first Test against Australia: Rohit Sharma (capt), KL Rahul (vc), Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, KS Bharat (wk), Ishan Kishan (wk), R Ashwin, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Jaydev Unadkat, Suryakumar Yadav.