During the first innings of the Adelaide Test between Australia and India, Ashwin Ravichandran was at his brilliant best as claimed 4/55 to help India restrict Australia to 191. Almost everyone had expected the pace bowlers to rule the roost with the pink ball but Ashwin bowled beautifully to take the wickets of Steve Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green and Nathan Lyon.

The manner in which he set up the batsmen particularly delighted former India skipper Sunil Gavaskar, but he used that to raise a larger point about the off-spinner is always under pressure to prove his worth to the side.

In his column for Sportstar, Gavaskar wrote: “Ashwin bowled beautifully as the Aussie batsmen struggled to read him. The way he got Steve Smith out was a joy to behold.”

Ashwin got Australia’s best batsman with a floater that went straight and Smith was squared up when looking to play with the spin. Rahane, at first slip, took the catch.

But then again, Gavaskar couldn’t quite make sense of why Ashwin keeps getting sidelined at the first available opportunity even when established batsmen get a much longer run.

“For far too long Ashwin has suffered not for his bowling ability of which only the churlish will have doubts, but for his forthrightness and speaking his mind at meetings where most others just nod even if they don’t agree,” wrote Gavaskar.

Gavaskar further added: “Any other country would welcome a bowler who has more than 350 Test wickets and not to forget four Test match centuries, too. However, if Ashwin doesn’t take heaps of wickets in one game he is invariably sidelined for the next one. That does not happen to established batsmen though. Even if they fail in one game they get another chance and another and another but for Ashwin the rules seem to be different.”

Shaw nightmare

Gavaskar, who is one of India’s best ever openers, also felt that young India opener Prithvi Shaw would need to make some technical adjustments to his batting technique if he wanted to succeed away from home.

“With his high back lift and the habit of pushing hard at the ball he is going to find it hard to score runs on surfaces where the ball moves and bounces. On pitches where the ball will come at stumps height, he will be hard to stop as that same high back lift will power the ball to the boundary,” wrote Gavaskar.

Shaw is just 21 was dismissed for 0 and 4 in the first Test. While he potentially has a lengthy career ahead of him, these small changes could go a long way towards making him a batsman who will do well in all conditions.

Read Gavaskar’s full column in Sportstar.