India v Pakistan, 1st T20, Bangalore December 25, 2012

Hafeez happy with Ashwin omission

ESPNcricinfo staff

Mohammad Hafeez has suggested that the decision to leave out R Ashwin, India's leading limited-overs spinner, for the first Twenty20 helped Pakistan. India opted to go in with left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja ahead of Ashwin for the match in Bangalore, which Pakistan won by five wickets.

"This is the combination, they knew very well what they (wanted), Ashwin was not there in this team," Hafeez said. "So our plan was that if we play out the new ball, then their spinners are not world-class; I know Yuvraj is in great form, but when you don't have a world-class spinner then we can dominate."

Jadeja bowled 2.4 overs, including the final one of the game, and was taken for 29 runs, and he contributed only two runs with the bat. "It was a surprise for us that they didn't play [Ashwin], at the end we are happy that we won the game."

Dhoni, though, defended the decision saying Ashwin was more of a threat with the new ball. "Ashwin has been one of our main bowlers, he had to bowl in the first six overs a lot," Dhoni said. "Once we had three seamers, we wanted to give Jadeja a chance also, and once the field has opened up in the last two games Ashwin has also gone for runs, [though] he has bowled beautifully in the first six overs."

Only one of Pakistan's top seven batsmen was a left-hander, another reason Dhoni provided for the decision to leave out the offspinner Ashwin. "They had lots of right-hand batsmen, and if we needed an offspinner, we had Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina. If we needed an option of a left-arm spinner in case Yuvi had a bad day, we wouldn't have any option in the XI [if Jadeja was left out]."

This was only the second Twenty20 match Ashwin has missed since his debut against Zimbabwe in 2010; the other one was the meaningless fixture against England in the World Twenty20. Ashwin himself was philosophical about his omission: "Even Fernando Torres has to sit out for Chelsea."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • JIGNESH on December 28, 2012, 10:45 GMT

    Almost each time, Ashwin makes more runs than at-least one of the specialize Indian batsmen, and definitely makes more and faster runs than the Captain-Mr. Cold. If India don't consider him as a bowler, Ashwin plays a part of specialize batsman pretty better than most specialize batsmen. I guess, Indian captain has to quit playing cricket for a while, and analyze what to do just watching. Until now, I always seen that the Indian captain never perform good, they all are in the team because they are captains, but when Mr. Cold became a captain, my impression of Indian captain has changed, but now Mr. Cold showing that he is just like other captains. But whatever happens, our Mr. cold always has excuses. Entire team including himself perform very very poor, but Mr. Cold always finds some positives to defend his boys and his own decisions, and the media also helps him. Otherwise India have 27 local team, but they still use almost same players in T20 who also play tests and ODIs.

  • James on December 28, 2012, 5:17 GMT

    Hafeez may not be aware of the rubbish that Ashwin has been serving in recent times. On the other hand he may be aware and this would merely be a mind game. Either way, the problem was not lack of specialist bowlers, the problem for India was lack of good bowlers. Ishant Sharma and Dinda are useless on most tracks. Spinners on this kinds of tracks are a gamble- especially against sides that are comfortable against spin. India lost because Ishant sharma and Dinda were unable to sustain the pressure that Kumar had brought on, and Jadeja bowled a couple of very ordinary overs. But yes, possibly against Pakistan, Ashwin would have been a better bet than Jadeja.

  • Abrar on December 27, 2012, 20:09 GMT

    only 3 specialist bowlers --- Hard to win an International game with this combo. Hafeez is spot on and 100% right but rather than acknowledging their own mistake Dhoni and Co are defending their decision ... weird

  • Anand on December 27, 2012, 17:09 GMT

    Wining stratergy

    Dhoni needs to be aggressive and careful as per situation. Up the order will do a good for Dhoni I think Yuvi should come after Dhoni in the batting line up.

    We need more aggression from India team. Hold one end and fire from the other end stratergy should be used. Play according to situation batsmen, exactly how Pakistan did at the right moment of the match.

    Young guns Virat, Raina and Rohit should plan to rotate the strike first before going for their shots. I think with pakistan bowling attack it is better to play straight first and get the feel of the ball on bat before any shots accross the line. Speed up the tempo once you get going again one of the batsmen should hold one end. Cannot play strokes from both ends it is risky.

    I think we have a great batting attack fellows play clever cricket and not rush of blood shots. And bowlers need to stick to good line and lenth for the most part do not try too many variations good luck and have a great matc

  • Anand on December 27, 2012, 16:38 GMT

    I think India bowled much better this time except ofcourse the last over should have been pace and not spin one mistake cost us the match. One more problem was the batting collapse I think we have enough batsmen with experience to know how to play according to situation batsmen need to be blamed for this defeat and not the bowlers batsmen including Dhoni need to pull up their socks and play better cricket. It is easy to say as per dhoni but mistakes cannot be repeated again and again. Pakistan has a good bowling attack Indian batsmen should know that and after a good start given they did not capitalize on that we need to focus on grabbing opportunities that come our way.

    We also need more bowlers like kumar who can take wickets in this fashion. Way to go kumar, keep hitting the right area's and give tips to the seniour bowlers as well no harm in learning from the junior's Dindi and Ishant. Remember dot balls and accuracy are the key to get the wickets.

  • Shantanu on December 27, 2012, 15:23 GMT

    India needs to quickly asses the pitch and set a target if they bat first. Didnt see the Indian innings in the first match but the collapse was embarrassing as it appears that batsmen were looking for bigger target. Pakistan strength is bowling which is India's weakness so batters would have to lift themselves up. Pakistani cricketers dont watch international cricket otherwise Hafeez wouldnt have made the comment about Ashwin. Throughout this season whether for CSK or for India tests or t20 Ashwin had been below par. In CLT20 part of CSK debacle could be put to his bowling so spinner's slot is a problem for India. I would think there is a toss up between Chawla & Ashwin for Jadeja's place. I think its wrong to criticise Dhoni for bowling Kohli but last over could have been by Yuvraj. But for his stupendous form in Ranji trophy Jadeja wouldnt have played. He is not justifying his form or talent.

  • Rajesh on December 27, 2012, 15:16 GMT

    Hafeez, say thankx to Dhoni. I don't know why he needs eight batsman for 20 overs game. I think he lost his confidence on team and himself as well. No doubt he is good player but not good leader now....Funny thing is after Bhajji now Irfan Pathan disappeared from one day squad even he is in good form.

  • Dummy4 on December 27, 2012, 15:07 GMT

    @Pakistan_victorious, Dear, this decade means 2010 onwards, just like this century means 2000 onwards. so, dont be so sensitive, it was merely a fact being recited about first pakistan win against india this decade.

    Needless to say, Dhoni needs to go after the defeat. Any captain in any game would hand over his resignation after 9/10 defeats (tests) and back-to-back series losses. The team needs to change from captain downwards, Its about time India should look to make separate teams for ODI, Tests & T20s. Whilst its the first game for kumar, its too early to get excited by his bowling. India should pick up the team based on current form & not reputation. Cancer should be not be mentioned in every sentence that has Yuvraj Singh. He survived, its a big deal, now its time to get on with the game. Its professional cricket & emotions should be left for fans, not for selection meetings.

  • Allim on December 27, 2012, 14:22 GMT

    First of all well done Pakistan. They once again proved that they are one of the most entertaining teams to watch but India too played their part too. For me the most interesting part of these two teams is summed up in their captains. In Hafeez, Pakistan have a very likeable, down to earth and honest captain who seems to be getting the best out of his team. I dont think it will be long before Pakistan are pushing the top of the rankings in all 3 forms of game - and to be honest with their undeniable quality its about time. But Dhoni and India have many problems. As a neutral I dont understand how Dhoni can be so biased to certain players when their are so many talented cricketers available to him. Unfortunately it seems that he has his favourites and these will be selected despite their poor form and performances. Finally it was nice to see a new bowler for India - Kumar. He looked good in helpful conditions but hopefully the pressure of a huge nation wont get to him!

  • Nasser on December 27, 2012, 14:20 GMT

    Kumar's pace bowling ranks amongst the best. In a short spell of 4 overs he took the first 3 wickets for 9 runs. His success was also due to the fact he did not waste any of his deliveries by always ensuring that batsman had to play the bal - and he did not give away any boundary. Is Kumar Indian?