New Delhi: Former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram praised Indian off-spinner R Ashwin for his excellent Test debut against the West Indies, in which he finished with a nine-wicket haul, but warned him against becoming complacent.
"What I like about Ashwin is that he is not scared of flighting the ball, not just in Tests, but in T20s and ODI cricket too. He has got the variety, he has the carom ball, the quicker one and an easy action," said Akram.
"Ashwin is young and his height allows him to get extra bounce. He bowled excellently in the second innings."
With a nine-wicket haul, including six in the second innings, Ashwin became only the third cricketer to get a Man of the Match award on debut.
Akram, however, said the youngster must guard against complacency.
"His start has been terrific. But what I do not want to see with Ashwin is what happened with Sri Lanka mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis. When Mendis came on to the scene he was unplayable but later everybody learnt what he does. So that is where Ashwin needs to change his tactics and develop more," said the former skipper.
The 45-year-old Akram also felt that having proved his worth with his guile and variations, the offie is expected to seal a berth for himself for the upcoming Australia tour.
"I am sure after this performance he will be selected for the Australia tour," the cricketer-turned-commentator said.
Although Ashwin`s nine wickets in the match overshadowed Pragyan Ojha`s 6 for 72 in the West Indies` first innings but Akram insisted that the pair of can emerge as a spin twin for India in the future.
"They (Ashwin and Ojha) can be quite a team together, Ashwin has been very consistent off late, Ojha can turn the ball too. But the big test for them is not at home against the West Indies, it has to be Australia.”
"Looking at the way Ojha is bowling, he too can make the cut for the big series. The Australia series will test the true mettle of these two spinners. Both of them have the ability to play consistently for India, especially under sub-continental conditions," the pace legend said.
Akram also said that with both the youngsters grabbing opportunities, it will be tough for Harbhajan Singh to make a comeback.
"With Ashwin picking up wickets in almost each game, it will be difficult for Harbhajan to make a return. There is pressure on him big time now. He has to play first class cricket and pick up wickets if he is looking to make it to the Australia series," he said.
Harbhajan was dropped from the Indian squad for the India-England five-match ODI series, followed by the on-going Test series against the West Indies at home, after his dismal show in England.