Southampton: Former Indian cricketer Harbhajan Singh on Monday stated that Ravichandran Ashwin’s inability to take wickets during the fourth England-India Test was one of the reasons Virat Kohli and co lost the game. Eventually, that loss cost them the entire series, with the hosts taking an unassailable 3-1 lead with one match to play.
"India lost the match where Moeen Ali bowled better than R Ashwin. For the first time, I saw England spinners bowling better than our spinners. Him (Ashwin) not being able to take wickets is the reason why we are 1-3 behind in the series,” the 38-year-old was quoted saying by India Today.
"Ashwin is a great bowler and has achieved so much for India. But he failed to take wickets when it mattered the most, that is on Day 3. Had he taken just two or three wickets, not even a five-wicket haul, then India would have been chasing a target of 160-170 runs for vitory which was very much achievable," he added.
During the third Test in Trent Bridge, the Tamil Nadu cricketer had suffered a groin injury. However, he did play the fourth Test as Virat Kohli had stated that he had completely recovered.
Harbhajan, meanwhile, was unsure about the seriousness of his injury.
"I really don't know how serious was Ashwin's injury. If it was serious then the team management should have known it. And if he was really fit then he failed to bowl like it was expected of him," added the former Punjab cricketer.
Moeen Ali picked up nine wickets in the fourth Test here, including a five-wicket haul. While Harbhajan praised Moeen’s bowling, he added that India have been finding it tough to tackle his bowling.
“Moeen Ali was making a comeback in the England team and won the man-of-the-match award. He is a very good bowler though does not rate himself so highly. He will always bowl better than the rest as his trajectory is very good. Indian team has not been able to find any solution to his bowling since 2014 when he performed exceptionally well against us at the same venue," he said.
The fifth Test starts at The Oval in London from Friday.