“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 too. 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.”
Dhoni provided another reason to drop Ashwin: “They had lots of right-handed batsmen (only one of Pakistan’s top seven batsmen was a left-hander), and if we needed an off-spinner, 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).”
However, Pakistan skipper Mohammad Hafeez was surprised by India’s decision to not include Ashwin. He suggested that the decision helped Pakistan. It was only the second Twenty20 match Ashwin has missed since his debut against Zimbabwe in 2010.