Former Indian skipper Sunil Gavaskar was full of praise for spin twins Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja who played a stellar role in India’s 197-run win over New Zealand in the Kanpur Test which helped Virat Kohli’s side take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
While admitting that Jadeja deserved his Man-of-the-Match award for his return of six wickets and 92 runs, Gavaskar was even more impressed with Ashwin who has gone from strength to strength in the Test format as he picked up six wickets in the second innings to pick up his 5th 10-wciket haul in the longest format of the game.
Ashwin a future legend, says Gavaskar
During the course of the match, he also became the fastest Indian to 200 Test wickets reaching the landmark in just his 37th Test match, which is nine games less than the previous record holder Harbhajan Singh. While Indian skipper Virat Kohli has already been earmarked as a future legend considering his performances in all formats of the game, Gavaskar feels that Ashwin is equally deserving of such a status.
"Ashwin is galloping towards legendary status. He is already showing himself to be a great bowler and cricketer. The way he is batting and bowling, he will be a legend when he finishes his career," Gavaskar told NDTV on Monday.
"The opposition has been different when Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh played and when the four great spinners played. But Ashwin has got a huge heart and is a keen student of the game who is looking to get better every single day. He will certainly leave a mark on the game with both bat and ball."
After being on the backfoot for the first two days of the Kanpur Test, the hosts made a strong comeback on day three, before consolidating their position of strength with most of the batsmen also chipping in with useful contributions, though none could go on to make a substantial score.
Jadeja was impressive
Gavaskar was impressed by the all-round contribution from the Indian players but admitted that Jadeja deserved the MoM award more because of his game-changing performance in the first innings.
“Jadeja deserved the Man of the Match award. It is good to have three-four people in contention for the award as it means most of the players in the team have done well," he said.
The victory at Kanpur, which was incidentally Indias’ 500th Test match, helped Indian head coach Anil Kumble make a winning start at home and having won three of the five Tests so far as coach, Gavaskar feels that the Indian side have already benefitted a lot from the legendary leg-spinner's invaluable experience and knowledge of the game.
"As a coach, Kumble has been superb so far,” Gavaskar said.
“His inputs must have been invaluable at the end of Day 1 when it was just one wicket down for New Zealand. The manner in which India struck back the next day in the first innings and got New Zealand dismissed for not too many, he must have told them what line and length to bowl and that made a big difference," the former batsman said in his interview with NDTV.
"This is where somebody who has played a lot of cricket, who has been a part of a winning team and who has been captain, can make a huge difference and we are beginning to see it. It's early days as far as Kumble is concerned but the beginning has been very good and impressive," he added.