Hyderabad: Ravichandran Ashwin has evolved as a spinner. This is what new coach Rahul Dravid spoke glowingly about the Indian spinner. With an incredible eight man-of-the series awards, Ashwin has stamped his class as World No.1 spinner .
The 35-year-old off-spinner went past Harbhajan Singh’s record of 417 wickets in the list of highest wicket-takers for India in Test cricket during the first Test against New Zealand at Kanpur. Ashwin finished with 14 wickets in the two-Test series.
Ashwin has now 427 wickets from 81 matches, third behind Anil Kumble (619) and Kapil Dev (434). Incidentally, the off spinner’s strike-rate of 52.7 is the fourth best behind that of Dale Steyn, Sir Richard Hadlee and Glenn Mcgrath among the 16 bowlers who are currently part of the 400 Test wickets club
Dravid further pointed out that Ashwin has just kept growing. “He is one of those guys who keeps thinking about the game, keeps changing, keeps evolving, that’s why he (has) got where he has. You don’t achieve what Ashwin has achieved without growing and improving and evolving. It is a pleasure to have someone like him in the dressing room and to work (with). I am really happy for him,’’ he said.
The Indian coach went on to add that Ashwin’s achievements were phenomenal. “I think you know Harbhajan Singh was a really fine bowler, someone I played a lot of cricket with; terrific bowler for India and what Ashwin has done, to be able to go past him in just 80 Test matches is a phenomenal achievement.”
Former Hyderabad off spinner V Ramnarayan said that Ashwin is No.1 spinner in the world today. “He is bowling brilliantly. He worked very hard to reach there. He used to experiment too much but now he is a more mature bowler. His control is excellent and dominates the batsman psychologically as he is not afraid to flight the ball. Most importantly, his success rate against left-handers is very good. Usually, the off-spinners love to bowl to left-handers and Ashwin has relished that challenge excellently. There are a lot of variations in his bowling,’’ said the veteran spinner.
Ramnarayan pointed out that skipper Virat Kohli has not handled Ashwin well. “He has often been benched in foreign tour matches. In fact, in the last series against England, he should have never been dropped. It was unfair. Since he has evolved as a spinner, he can bowl on any conditions and on any wickets. The Indian team on foreign tour matches has not been fair to him. Perhaps he would have more wickets in his bag had he got the opportunities, particularly in this recent England tour,’’ he said.
Kanwaljit Singh, another former Hyderabad off-spinner, said Ashwin is enjoying his bowling. “The way he teases opponents with flight, turn and bounce is amazing. I thought in India’s last tour of Australia, Ashwin outwitted Nathan Lyon, who is a classical off-spinner, in his home ground. Ashwin reads the wicket very well and uses that subtle variation to fox the batsman. He is the match winner for India. There is no doubt about it,’’ he said.
Ashwin uses the creases very nicely, felt veteran left-arm spinner Rajindra Singh Hans. “He is a good thinker of the game. He keeps working on his bowling and he uses the crease beautifully. He is in a different zone now,’’ said the former National selector.
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