Doubts over whether Ravichandran Ashwin will play the first Test against South Africa in Mohali or not were cleared by Indian Team Director Ravi Shastri. Shastri, in press conference, has indicated that Ravichandran Ashwin will play in the opening Test against South Africa, saying, the off-spinner is “absolutely fine”.
It may be recalled that Ashwin, who suffered a side strain during the first ODI in Kanpur, could not participate in the last four games against the visitors. His absence hurt the hosts as they went down 2-3 against the AB de Villiers-led side in the ODI series.
“Ashwin is bowling magnificently. He is absolutely fine,” said Shastri. Ashwin was seen going through his practice drills in full vigour during the team’s training session at the PCA stadium .
Apart from bowling in tandem with other spinners, the 29-year-old player was also involved in a football game that the cricketers played before moving to the net session. Ashwin, who led the bowling charts by bagging 20 wickets in three games against Sri Lanka during the last Test series, is India’s main weapon against a formidable South African batting line-up, led by skipper Hashim Amla.
While Proteas batsman and Twenty 20 skipper Faf du Plessis had admitted to Ashwin being the main threat for the tourists, opener Dean Elgar also believes that the off-spinner is spearheading the Indian bowling attack for the moment. Shastri though warned the visitors of concentrating too much on Ashwin and neglecting the other Indian spinners.
“We have got two other spinners, who might just surprise if they focus too much on Ashwin,” Shastri said. Leg-spinner Amit Mishra and left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja are the other two spinners in the Test squad.
There is immense pressure on Team India and Test skipper Virat Kohli led side, to fare well in the Test series after having lost both the Twenty20m, and ODI series to South Africa 0-2 and 2-3 respectively.