Team India skipper Virat Kohli surprised everyone by not including R Ashwin in the Playing XI for the first Test against England.

Team India skipper Virat Kohli surprised everyone by not including R Ashwin in the Playing XI for the first Test against England. He went with Ravindra Jadeja, who was a failure in the WTC finale against New Zealand.

Even Ravindra Jadeja was not required in the first innings as England were bowled out for just 183 runs. Earlier, Ashwin took seven wickets in one of the county matches he played for Surrey.

Speaking about Ashwin’s exclusion from the playing XI, Steve Harmison explained how the omission of the premier spinner would help England.

“I’m surprised; I’m very surprised. I think the England cricket team might be having a little smile in that dressing room and thinking ‘we’re happy with Ashwin not playing’. He got runs with the bat; he was unbelievable with the ball in India. Ashwin has got a ridiculous number of wickets in English conditions. He played County cricket, got six (seven) wickets against Surrey not long ago,” Harmison told ESPNCricinfo.

He further added that R Ashwin is a handy bowler when it comes to controlling the game in middle overs.

“India could beat themselves by not picking the right side. We’re talking about two senior spin bowlers who have bowled a lot of overs in Test cricket, who understand the game, who control the game even if the ball is not turning and still have a positive impact. So for me, as an English man, I’m over the moon with this Indian team because I think Ravichandran Ashwin should have been playing for India, alongside Jadeja,” he added.

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