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Ravichandran Ashwin’s match winning spell of 12-85 was testimony to the fact that he is indeed the best spinner for India at home as of now.
Ashwin, who made his debut last year against West Indies, tortured the West Indies batsmen with his turn and variation and ended with 22 wickets from three matches. And now his 12-wicket haul, not only make him the most dreaded bowler in home conditions, his performance has also made Harbhajan Singh’s chances of making a comeback to the longer format of the game very bleak.
Ashwin made use of the pitch to the optimum in the first Test match against the Kiwis and generated enough turn and bounce from it to leave the batsmen clueless on many occasions.
Post Harbhajan era, Ashwin has handled the responsibility of being India’s number one spinner quite well till he visited Australia. As expected, Aswin couldn’t do much on the pacer-friendly pitches of Australia and in three Test matches he played there; he could just take nine wickets.
Being the number one spinner of the team, the figures were not that impressive and even he would know that. Ashwin would know that to hold on his spot, he will have to do much more than what he has done or someone else might come into the reckoning.
It is obvious for a player to feel low on confidence after a bad tour and Ashwin is no exception this. The Chennai spinner’s confidence must have been boosted with the match winning spell against Kiwis and should help him in preparing for the season ahead.
In the seven Test matches that he has played so far, he has taken 43 wickets, more than any Indian spinner at this stage and the number does show that he is a real match winner. Arriving to a conclusion that he can’t win matches in overseas conditions will be unfair as the bowler has had just one series outside the sub-continent.
He has won matches for India and in order to walk on the lines of Anil Kumble and Harbhjan Singh, he will have to produce results abroad. One tour is not enough to judge a player, and the real worth will be judged only after his performance on tracks which do not offer much assistance for spinners.
For an instance Anil Kumble, India’s most successful bowler could deliver in any given conditions and situations and Ashwin will have to emulate that benchmark in order to become a complete spinner. Not only at home, he will have to roll out similar match winning performances overseas as well.
The good thing for Ashwin for now is that India will not be touring for almost two years and after that they go to South Africa. The way Ashwin started in the season gives a feeling that by the time India finish off with the nine Tests at home, he will breach the three figure mark.
But his real test will come only when he will bowling in the pacer friendly tracks of the Rainbow Nation and only if he can dish out something special there, will he become the complete bowler and can justify his tag of being the number one spinner of the country.
By Samikshan Dutta Chouhdury
Indian Sports News network