With Shami in tow, we`ll have a potent attack in SA: Ashwin
Kolkata: Pacer Mohammad Shami`s dream Test debut of nine-wicket haul against the West Indis here will ensure that India will head for South Africa tour next month with a lethal bowling attack, off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin said on Friday.
"More than any ability or talent in a bowler, I think wickets are very important at the back to go into any series. He just got a lovely nine wicket haul on debut here," Ashwin said after Shami`s fiery bowling helped India wrap up the first Test against the West Indies in three days here.
"I hope he carries on and forms a potent attack with the senior bowlers. We are definitely forming a potent attack with the SA series coming up," he said.
Such was Shami`s penetration with the reverse swing that he bowled out six Windies batsmen from the nine dismissals as India registered a innings and 51 runs victory to go 1-0 up in the two-match farewell series of Sachin Tendulkar.
Showering praise on Shami, Ashwin said the young pacer eased pressure off him at the other end.
"He bowled really well. He got the ball to reverse pretty late. Definitely, it`s like half the job done when the seamer gets through the tail and take wickets in between. I think he bowled with some good pace and got the ball to move in late. I`m really happy for him," Ashwin, who returned with a five-wicket haul, added.
Ashwin, who himself hit a career-best 124 in India`s first innings, offered a tip to the Windies batters to tackle the reverse swing.
"It`s all about getting used to play the reverse swings. Early on, when it came into being nobody knew how to play and what it was all about. Maybe it`s just about watching out the ball and play it late."
"According to me, that's how reverse swings need to be played. But definitely, what happens with the reverse swing is that once you get excited and bowl fuller, it becomes easier for the batsmen. What Shami did with Samuels and a few other batsmen was brilliant. He hit the deck and got to move it off the seam as well. He bowled brilliantly," said Ashwin.
The Tamil Nadu bowler also credited Rohit Sharma for helping him score his second Test century.
"Personally I'm a very big fan of Rohit. He's always batted very high in the batting order and I never got a chance to bat with him. This his Test debut here... And I just went out there and thought OK, if he has a good day and I could stick together there could be a partnership together.
"We enjoyed our time out together. It's very important to communicate with each other and we had a great time," he said about Sharma's 177 on debut.
Ashwin said he did not have any nerves when he began the day on 92, eight short of century.
"I slept really well. I thought OK, it (100) is just a number. I had been here, I was 91 not out the last time. I had a good batsman at the other end so knew I could probably complete my century. I was very pleased with what I did yesterday, probably a little more pleased today that I got a century."
Asked whether he should be called an all-rounder now, Ashwin said, "Honestly I don't expect to be called anything at all. I'm just doing my job and I'd like to do what I do the best.
"I'd like to improve all the time. Whatever best I can offer the team is what I'm looking at. Not in terms of being called something or not. It's not something I've gone after and it's not something I will go after."