Former India batsmen VVS Laxman and Aakash Chopra hailed Ravichandran Ashwin as “very intelligent” and an “absolute phenomenal” ahead of the fourth Test against England in Ahmedabad, starting Thursday.
Last month, Ashwin became the second-fastest bowler to take 400 wickets in the history of Test cricket as India defeated England by ten wickets inside two days in the third Test at Motera. The win helped India take a 2-1 lead over the visitors, and inched closer to making the final of ICC World Test Championship.
Speaking on CRICKET CONNECTED, former Chopra lavished praise on Ashwin and highlighted his performance in the ongoing four-match India vs England Test series.
“78 Test matches for 400 Test wicket. Let the naysayers be! He’s been absolute phenomenal with the craft that he has displayed over a period of time and as he’s growing as a bowler he’s picking a lot of wickets,” the former opener said.
Ashwin also became the fourth Indian bowler, after Kapil Dev (434), Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh (417), to enter the 400-wickets club.
“So, that question mark is also getting answered quite nicely. I feel that he’s an absolute Rockstar. He’s one of the biggest match winners, that India has ever produced, of course Anil Kumble will still remain at No.1,” Chopra added.
Batting great Laxman also praised Ashwin on his feat and spoke on how intelligent the spinner is.
“I think he’s a very intelligent person! When you’re playing at the highest level, then it’s not only about your skill, it’s about your preparation, your planning and execution is so critical,” Laxman said. “So, he works out what are the weaknesses of the batsman. He plans those dismissals and that’s why I think he is reinventing himself.
Ashwin brought up the 400-wicket milestone in only his 77th match. His standout numbers with the ball in the Test arena since making his debut versus West Indies in November 2011 make for impressive reading. And he has been a thorn in Australia, arguably the most successful Test side.
Ashwin has racked up 89 of his wickets against Australia, more than any other side. They were taken in 18 matches at an average of 31.5, while he has also thrived against England over the years – taking 73 wickets at 32.2 apiece.
“We saw recently in the Australia series how he troubled, someone as great as Steve Smith and that’s another thing that makes Ashwin or any champion player special, that he wants to be the best and compete against the best,” Laxman added.