Visakhapatnam: Former India skipper Sunil Gavaskar on Friday criticised the Indian team management for their treatment of ace off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who has been in and out of the Test playing XI in the last two years.
According to the legendary Indian batsman, Ashwin should always be certainty whenever India play Test cricket.
"Ashwin should be a certainty. The fact that he has not been made to feel the comfort level is the reason why we are seeing him struggle a little bit," Gavaskar told official broadcasters after the end of first session on Day 3 of the ongoing Test between India and South Africa.
"He has also got to feel he has got the confidence of the people around him. When you don't have the confidence of people around you, when you keep getting sidelined then you try a little too hard," he added.
In the ongoing Test match at the ACA-VDCA Stadium, Ashwin made immediate impact as he scalped two South African wickets on Day 2. On Day 3, he picked the priced scalp of Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis in the post-lunch session.
Ashwin has been a regular feature of the Indian Test XI whenever the team plays at home. However, his position in away Tests has not been certain.
According to Gavaskar, the 33-year-old has been a victim of comparisons whenever the Indian team plays in overseas conditions.
"I think, there is always these little comparisons he suffers from. When playing in Australia, he is compared to Nathan Lyon. He is doing that doing this. But Lyon is bowling to the Indian batsmen. Similarly, in England, when Moeen Ali got 6 or 7 wickets, you say he didn't get any wickets. It can happen," said the legendary Indian batsman.
"I think there is more to it than just cricketing performances which is the reason he just finds himself sidelined more often than somebody with his record should be. Somebody who has got almost 350 wickets can't be sidelined as regularly as he has been," he added.
Ashwin has so far represented India in 66 Tests, 111 ODIs and 46 T20Is in which he has taken 345, 150 and 52 wickets respectively.