New Delhi: Ravichandran Ashwin, the man who started as a batsman who could bowl has now become a bowler who can bat. His journey so far has been amazing. He is already a match-winner and Team India is extremely lucky to have him as their prime spinner.
Ashwin, who is India's frontline bowler at the moment, has maintained his domination in latest ICC Test rankings as he is still placed at the top of latest table. Ashwin, who grabbed 8 wickets in the 2nd Test match against England at Visakhapatnam, helped India beat visitors by a whopping margin of 246 runs and take 1-0 lead in the 5-Test series.
With 895 rating points Ashwin is ahead of Sri Lanka's veteran spinner Rangana Herath (867) by 28 points, who is at the second spot. The Tamil Nadu offspinner bagged 5 wickets on the 3rd day of the 2nd Test against England to draw level with some of the greats of the game. With his latest fifer, Ashwin drew level (22 times of taking 5 or more wickets in an innings) with former great bowlers Waqar Younis (Pakistan), Malcolm Marshall, Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh (all 3 from West Indies).
Sri Lanka's legendary spinner Muttiah Muralitharan hails R Ashwin as the best in the business among the current crop of off-spinners in the world.
Muralitharan, who holds the world record of 800 Test wickets, said the Indian is on top at the moment while also hailing Austrlian Nathan Lyon, who he feels bowls in different conditions.
"Ashwin, I think, is on the top at the moment as the best current Test spinner," Muralitharan was recently quoted as saying by Cricket Australia's (CA) website.
"Lyon is a very good bowler, a very good off-spinner. He has proven himself in Test cricket and has taken a lot of wickets for Australia. He bowls in different conditions (in Australia) which are not much helpful for spin but on the turning wickets he has taken some wicket," he added.
India's maverick tweaker Erapalli Prasanna too believes that Ashwin is the best spinner in the cricket world at the moment. Ashwin recently became the second fastest ever and the quickest Indian to reach 200 Test wickets when he got rid of New Zealand captain Kane Williamson in the first Test in Kanpur.
In the Kanpur Test, the Tamil Nadu off-spinner finished with a six-for in the second innings to help Virat Kohli’s men pummel the Kiwis by 197 runs to take a 1-0 lead. This was Ashwin’s 19th five-wicket haul. The 30-year-old finished with innings figures of 6 for 132 and match figures of 10 for 225 in 66.2 overs in the Kanpur Test.
When asked about his ability to take quick wickets for India, Prasanna says Ashwin can carry his home form in overseas games too. ''Whatever he has achieved and the number of Tests he has played will help him be a better bowler on overseas wickets too. I think he will prove people wrong that he cannot take wickets outside India. He is an intelligent bowler. He has got a good cricketing brain. He needs to be consistent overseas and I’m sure he will sort it out,” the legendary tweaker said.
Batting legend VVS Laxman had too praised Ashwin for his abilities to take wicket in difficult circumstances. "One of the best, without a doubt. For me any great bowler or a great batsman or great cricketer is when you win matches for your team and Ashwin has just done that in the last four years,'' Laxman said.
"He has won a lot of matches (for India), some of them single-handedly. You have to always look to evolve, never stagnate as a player and always look to improve. That is another aspect of being a great player and that is what Ashwin has done from the first Test he has played. He is a thinking cricketer and a match-winner for me and I always respect match-winners," he added.
Ashwin has been the main bowler for India in test matches at the present moment. His ability to deceive the batsmen makes him a dangerous bowler.