India’s premier spinner Ravichandran Ashwin added an illustrious feather in his cap In Test cricket after entering the 300-wicket club earlier this week to highlight his charisma in the longer format of the game.
The off-spinner is definitely a modern day legend of Test cricket and his attributes in surging ahead is noteworthy. In the ongoing Test series against Sri Lanka, Ashwin dominated the proceedings by picking four wickets on the final day and handing the hosts a 1-0 lead in the 3-match series in Nagpur. Ashwin has been a supplier of India’s prowess in the Test circuit and their overwhelming show at home. Now it is time to up the ante further!
The 31-year-old broke the record of former Australian bowler Dennis Lillee by becoming the fastest to 300 Test scalps in just 54 matches. With the in-form spinner being rested recently in the limited overs game, the selectors have done a wonderful job in handling him for the longest format given India’s upcoming away schedules. India have a plethora of spinners in the fray, and as the young guns are being given a chance to gain experience in ODIs and T20Is, the idea is to make them learn from their ace spinner in order to prepare them wholly.
The versatile player made a wise decision to gain vital experience abroad by playing for Worcestershire in the English county recently. The stint will help him to make himself count in the upcoming 4-match Test series against South Africa starting next month. With all the laurels achieved at home, Ashwin now needs to build on his confidence overseas in pace friendly conditions in South Africa.
The star-spinner has handled India’s spin department well over the past few years and it has been visible time and time again about the influence he bears. He had success Down Under versus Australia in the team’s last tour and the player acknowledged he needs to put in more commendable shows away from home. Reaching Anil Kumble’s record 619 Test wickets for India will be an uphill task, but Ashwin knows in order to achieve similar name as ‘Jumbo’, it is time he will have to set an example against the big Test teams overseas such as South Africa, Australia and England.
County stint in England had earlier helped Cheteshwar Pujara to learn more aspects about his game and recently the off-spinner acknowledged he has learnt to be more patient while playing there. South Africa will present India a tough battle with their team boasting some of the biggest names in world cricket. A lot will depend on how they deal against the Indian bowlers, especially Ashwin.
Interestingly, Ashwin has featured in only one Test match in South Africa so far in his career and did not enjoy any reward back then in 2013 at Johannesburg. South Africa is a nation where India haven’t enjoyed much success. Also conditions there will have Ashwin fight for a place in the team against Ravindra Jadeja. India will play its spinners according to the situation and the pitch and therefore it will be interesting what pans out.
Ashwin has shined enormously back home so there will be a real test of character in offer for the experienced campaigner. Australia’s Nathan Lyon has showed the way to make it count in every condition their team has faced in recent times and has been a chief architecture for Steve Smith’s side. Ashwin will hope to emulate some of Lyon’s output.
The Proteas batsmen know Ashwin in and out after playing with him in the Indian Premier League and in international series in India. Therefore the challenge will be even more monumental. But this will be something the spinner will be happy to take in his strides and get on with the job. The likes of Hashim Amla and Ab de Villiers will be a tough nut to crack, but its against the best that Ashwin will relish the fight.
Moreover India’s pace attack has been impressive and with the options India have, Ashwin is going to benefit more. Therefore, it will be key to work in a collective manner and fulfill one’s role. India has been dependent on Ashwin and it looks good that the bowler is ready to take the responsibility and get Virat Kohli’s side do the job in a commendable manner.