India head into the fourth Test after losing to the third by an innings and 76 runs. The five-match series is now tied 1-1.
Hussain’s column in the Daily Mail saw him explain why India needed Ashwin in their ranks when they take the field.
“But what India do have is an off-spin bowler ranked No. 2 in the world and a batsman good enough to have made five Test centuries in Ravichandran Ashwin. He should have played at Headingley against England’s five left-handers and he must play at The Oval.”
According to Hussain, India could go with the possibility of adding another batsman to the top six with wicket-keeper Pant pushed to seven.
“So the most likely solution is that Ashwin will come in for a seamer, most likely Ishant Sharma who struggled at Headingley and join Ravindra Jadeja in a more balanced looking side with a deeper batting line-up as long as Jadeja recovers from his knee injury.”
Related: Mohammad Mushtaq bats for Ashwin’s inclusion in India’s playing XI
Prior to the third Test, former Pakistan captain Mushtaq Mohammad had felt that Ravichandran Ashwin must be a part of the Indian playing XI for the remaining Test matches.
“Ashwin will provide the perfect balance. Jadeja has to work on his bowling. He is giving away too many full length and half volleys making it easier for the batsmen… His batting is good and he brings positive energy on the field but his bowling is neither here nor there… Not acceptable in Test matches,” Mushtaq said.
The off-spinner came into the series on the back of some serious form, but could not find a place in the playing XI. Ravindra Jadeja is the lone spinner in the team with India opting for a pace quartet.