'It's oversmartness' - Ashwin blasted by fans, Ravi Shastri and Kevin Pietersen for denying Bumrah singles as pacer falls for 0 off 26 balls
Ravichandran Ashwin and Jasprit Bumrah came together with the fall of Kuldeep Yadav's wicket in Vizag on day three of the second Test. India's lead was over 350 and Ashwin had the responsibility to take India past a lead of 400 to set England a daunting target.
But the partnership played out in a very unexpected fashion. Ashwin and Bumrah went into a blockathon with the former even denying Bumrah singles, puzzling Indian cricket fans. Kevin Pietersen on commentary seemed to agree with the fans. He said: "Someone explain this to me why Ashwin is batting like that?". Ravi Shastri agreed with him, calling Ashwin's tactics "bizarre".
Some reminded Ashwin that Bumrah had hit 35 runs off Stuart Broad in one over while others questioned Ashwin's decision-making with India needing to add as many runs as possible to set England a tough target.
"By asking Bumrah to block, block and block, you are only tiring out your frontline bowler," a user posted on Twitter (now called X).
Bumrah eventually edged Tom Hartley to the slip cordon to depart for a duck in 26 balls, adding little value to India's innings that needed as many runs as possible from the tail, rather than a defiant act.
Here's how social media reacted to it.
Fans react to Ashwin denying Jasprit Bumrah singles
Thankfully Bumrah is out. I was seriously afraid running with Ashwin he might damage his hamstring or something. He, and India’s hopes are safer in the dressing room.— Vishal Misra (@vishalmisra) February 4, 2024
This dead blocking by plonking the front foot is going to help no one. No runs are coming and with the ball turning, you can’t survive that long. Ashwin might survive defending spin, but certainly not Bumrah. This is mindless defence. #INDvENGTest— Gaurav Nandan Tripathi 🜃 (@Cric_Beyond_Ent) February 4, 2024
Interesting that Ashwin is employing these tactics to score and at the same time he's aware of Bumrah the batter. Realising he's struggling vs Rehan, Ashwin is protecting him whereas giving him strike early v Hartley where Bumrah is comfortable.#INDvENG #CricketTwitter— Pranav Nair (@leg_gully) February 4, 2024
Ashwin’s approach was very disappointing. Had he played normal cricket alongside Bumrah, the lead could have been more.— Chandrashekhar (@cpkasture) February 4, 2024
What was Ashwin and bumrah doing there, no purpose really— Salim (@SalimSh60706734) February 4, 2024
Ashwin and India's tactics bizzare Bumrah can tonk the ball he has the maximum runs scored in an over against Broad. Ash neither willing to give strike to him nor he is able to play shots clearly 30 runs missed. He can add all the 28 runs scored in his personal record strange— Venkatraman sreedharan (@Venkatramansre3) February 4, 2024
Bumrah and Ashwin batting together pic.twitter.com/xtJ6igLhGg— Kiran Gandhi (@Kirangandhi) February 4, 2024
Bizzare innings— Ruchi (@4ever_kkundrra) February 4, 2024
Ashwin falied in his views
Kuldeep could have done good
Ks Bharat don't even get me started
Wtf did all the others did
Bumrah shouldn't have listened to Ashwin should have l played natural game
And offcourse Iyer and his stupidity
#Ashwin should have showed much better attitude coz that's not how u play, #Bumrah has batted well before to play so defensively makes no sense. The mindset is still not clear for some cricketers as to how to play, times have changed. B +ve but who will tell him. #INDvsENGTest— ProudIndian🇮🇳 (@ProudIndia2014) February 4, 2024
Really odd strategy from Ashwin that. Achieved next to nothing, surely back yourself to score with Bumrah holding his own at the other end?— JR (@jr_vcc) February 4, 2024