Mohali Test: Is Ravichandran Ashwin the next Ravi Shastri for India?
Ravi Shastri made his debut as a left-arm spinner, batting at number 10 and 11 in 1981 but went on to open for India in many matches and batted at all positions; R Ashwin's progression will see his stature grow
India's Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja walk off the field at the end of the second day's play of the third Test at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Mohali yesterday. Pic/PTI
Mohali: The emergence of Ravichandran Ashwin as a reliable lower-order batsman has come as a big boon for the Indian team. His achievements as an off-spinner alone are already impressive enough and the way he is going he would surely end up as one of the most successful spinners of all time. Of course, he has a long way to go.
However, at 30 he is at the stage where he can look forward to enhance his reputation further over the next few years. Any frontline spinner who has a batting average of 35 would be an asset to a team as an all-rounder. His batting ability has enabled India to play an additional bowler in the XI and that has helped the team's cause.
Besides bringing balance to the team, he also has revived the innings on numerous occasions when the team has been in dire straits, which has been more often in recent times with Ajinkya 'Jinx' Rahane out of form. The responsibility has invariably fallen on Ashwin to tidy up things.
Ashwin found himself in a similar situation at the PCA Stadium in Mohali yesterday. India lost a spate of wickets in the post-tea session and Ashwin was at the wicket much earlier than expected.
Till Virat Kohli was in the middle, Ashwin was playing second fiddle. But the moment the skipper got out, it was the lanky Tamil Nadu player who took over the responsibility to navigate the innings through a rough passage.
Had Ashwin got out soon after Kohli's demise, it would have been disastrous for the home team. He batted with his usual assurance, which provided confidence to his partner Ravindra Jadeja at the other end.
The two have tormented many a team in tandem with the ball, but this was with the bat and at a very crucial juncture in the match.
With Ashwin batting solidly at the other end, the batsmen that follow, get the boost to not throw away their wickets. That in turn has helped India's cause over the last couple of seasons, yesterday being no exception.
Ashwin, another Shastri?
Ravi Shastri made his debut in Tests as a left-arm spinner, batting at number 10 and 11 in 1981. He went on to open for India in many Test matches and batted at all positions.
Ashwin is not in that mould, surely, but good enough to have four tons and nine fifties in 42 Tests at an average of 35. Seeing his progression as an all-rounder, one expects his stature to grow even further. Seeing his progression as an all-rounder, one expects his stature to grown over the next few years.
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