When selectors tell you a player has been rested, take it with a pinch of salt. Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja will miss out in action against Australia for the first three ODIs as per the rotation policy, chief selector MSK Prasad has specified.
But statistics of 2016 and 2017 say Jadeja's last 11 wickets have come in 15 ODIs he has played and Ashwin's 10 wickets in 11 ODIs. Now let's ask the selectors some questions.
Would both the spinners have found a place if there was a big-ticket tournament next?
Would the captain and selectors not be tempted to keep the more in-form and attacking options Kuldeep Yadav and Yajuvendra Chahal in the squad?
Are Ashwin and Jadeja currently the same force in limited overs cricket, that they are in Test cricket or what they appeared six months back?
Would both the spinners have found a place if there was a big-ticket tournament next? (Credit: PTI)
In any case, the spin trio chosen against Australia will serve Virat Kohli well. Each of them have got form behind their back, of late. Axar Patel getting wickets in South Africa with the A squad and then the six wickets against Sri Lanka. Kuldeep Yadav with his Chinaman skills strengthening his case with every opportunity across formats. And leggie Chahal who did well against Sri Lanka and remains someone captain Virat has always made good use of for his IPL team RCB over the years.
That Virat spoke about Chahal and Kuldeep complimenting the economical Axar Patel in his Sri Lanka series review cannot be overlooked.
For India's premier spinner Ashwin, this presents a chance to continue with his county stint in England. Bettering his overseas test numbers should be a bigger priority for the off spinner than re-establishing his limited overs case. India would benefit a lot more if Ashwin can outperform the opposing spinners in South Africa and England.
Jadeja's dip in one-day form is more surprising given his ability to contain but with his all-round skills, he should be back in the mix once the selectors rotate him back. With 20 limited overs (ODIs and T20s) matches lined up against Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka at home, the competition for the left-arm spin spot should keep both Jadeja and Axar desperate to deliver.