After England, Ravichandran Ashwin will burn Australia

Updated: 16 December, 2016 09:29 IST | Clayton Murzello |

Ashley Mallett, Australia's most successful off-spinner in India, says that his countrymen will suffer the same fate like England when they tour India next year

Ashley Mallett
Ashley Mallett

Ashley Mallett, Australia's most successful off-spinner in India, backs ace spinner Ravichandran Ashwin to replicate his current performance against England when the men from Down Under come visiting next year for a four-Test series.

Mallett, who claimed 28 wickets in Australia's 3-1 triumph in 1969-70, reckons the Indian spin attack spearheaded by Ashwin will beat the Aussies 4-0. "Traditionally, Australia have been hopeless against a good off-spinner," Mallett told mid-day from Adelaide, a day after Ashwin ended up claiming 12 wickets against England in the Mumbai Test.

Bhajji proved Mallett right
Mallett had predicted that Harbhajan Singh would be too hot for the Australians to handle in 2001 and the Turbanator proved him right with 32 wickets in the series.

R Ashwin has claimed 27 wickets in four Tests vs England. Pic/PTI
R Ashwin has claimed 27 wickets in four Tests vs England. Pic/PTI

However, he believes Ashwin is a better bowler than Harbhajan. "Ashwin is the best offie India has produced since EAS Prasanna. He's far better than Harbhajan. If Ashwin had a bowl at Matthew Hayden (Australia's batting star in the 2001 series), he would have hardly got a run.

"Harbhajan just bowled with the same pace and Hayden kept playing his slog sweeps. Hayden didn't rotate the strike and he found a way to bludgeon bowlers out of the ground," said Mallett, who was considered Australia's best spin bowling coach after the late Terry Jenner.

Oz aware of Ashwin's magic
Ashwin claimed 29 wickets in India's 4-0 whitewash of Australia at home in 2012-13. "Australia will be aware of how good Ashwin is. We've got only one player who can play spin bowling of any quality and that is Steve Smith," he said.

He doesn't believe the attacking David Warner will be a threat to India. "Warner is a wonderful striker when the ball comes on to the bat, but he can't play spin at all," remarked Mallett.

England's performance in the ongoing five-match series against the turning ball did not surprise Mallett. "The Englishmen have no idea of how to play off-spin and the Australians can't play spin bowling to save their lives except Smith. Usman Khawaja is a wonderful player and does remind me of Lara in some ways, but he's hopeless against spin," he said.

Nathan Lyon has been Australia's successful off-spinner, but in sub-continental conditions, Mallett backed Steve O'Keefe to succeed. "Lyon is better on harder wickets which have better bounce, but on the sub-continent he is very ordinary," reckoned Mallett. However, Lyon claimed nine wickets in the last Test he played in India – at Delhi in 2013.

First Published: 15 December, 2016 12:19 IST

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