When Virat Kohli declared India's side at the toss, there was a massive surprise when he announced that there was no R Ashwin in the playing XI despite his stellar record against West Indies. India, instead, opted for Ravindra Jadeja in his stead, as well as four fast bowlers in the team. The selection drew criticism from cricket fraternity and there were people who believed that Kohli made a blunder in team selection.
However, speaking after the match, Ajinkya Rahane gave a clear answer as to why this particular selection happened. "It's difficult when you miss a player like Ashwin but team management is always thinking as to what is the best combination. They thought Jadeja was a good option on this wicket as we needed a sixth batsman, who can actually bowl. Vihari can actually bowl on this track. So that was the communication between captain and coach," the batsman said.
'Decisions need to be taken as per the requirement of the side'
The Indian vice-captain was quick to add that it was very hard for the management to not include players like R Ashwin and Rohit Sharma, but then such decisions have to be taken for the betterment of the team.
During the match, former Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar lashed out at the Indian management for not including Ashwin in the side despite his astounding record against West Indies. "A man with that kind of record, especially against West Indies. He doesn't find a place in this playing XI. That is stunning. Astonishing," Gavaskar exclaimed during his commentary stint.
Ashwin has scored 552 runs with four hundreds and taken 60 wickets with four five-fors against the West Indies in 11 Tests (home and away).
Speaking about his own effort, Rahane said that it was an important innings in the context of the match and that he was happy he could stand up and contribute to the side. "It (the knock) was important as we were playing a Test match after a long time, nearly seven months (vs Australia in January) and I wanted to hang in there, play as many balls possible and take my team to a good position," the right-handed batsman added.