Mohali: Test captain Virat Kohli believes that Ravichandran Ashwin is among the top-three spinners in the world and described the off-spinner as a 'match-winner' who will play a critical role in the four-match series against South Africa starting here on Thursday.
'He has been our go-to man in Test cricket for the last two years. He is definitely someone who has taken his game to the next level. The way he bowled in Sri Lanka proved that he is among the top-3 spinners in the world,' Kohli said of the India's premier spinner.
'He certainly believes in himself a lot more now; that he is the match winner, and main bowler for India. As a captain, I am very delighted to have someone like Ashwin in our team,' added Kohli, who will be leading the team in his first home series as the captain.
Ashwin is itching to flex his bowling muscles after being ruled out of the last four ODIs with a side strain sustained during the opening match in Kanpur.
The 26-year-old skipper, who led India to a historic Test series win in 22 years in Sri Lankan soil, insisted that a team would only be considered as the best if they win matches in every condition around the world.
After losing limited overs series, India will aim to bounce back and salvage pride when they will take on the tourists in the first Test tomorrow in Mohali.
Meanwhile, South Africa have not lost a series away from home since Ashwell Prince's team suffered a 2-0 defeat in Sri Lanka in 2006 and will look to maintain that record intact.