Former Indian spinner Venkatapathi Raju reckons Ravichandran Ashwin is already among the world's best
Former Indian spinner Venkatapathi Raju heaped rich praise on ICC’s number 1 Test bowler and Indian spin wizard Ravichandran Ashwin and said that he is India’s best match-winner at the moment. The 46-year old credited Ashwin’s variations in his bowling, to his success in the sport.
“Ashwin has got fantastic variations and he adopts himself in three formats of the game which is difficult. I think, in between he tried something which did not click and he came back to his own bowling. We had Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh and lot of spinners who were strike bowlers and now I think he is our main strike bowler. Any captain will be more than happy to have him (in the side)," he said TOI.
Ashwin had a dream 2015 where he finished as the leading wicket-taker in Test matches with 62 scalps to his name, in just 9 Tests. Raju hailed Ashwin’s success and asserted how important it was to be supported from the other end.
"Bhajji (Harbhajan) did this for a long time and Kumble did it for a longer time and they all had good support bowlers. So, we have other good support bowlers to support him (Ashwin) very well. He's number one bowler now. His wicket taking ability is amazing and he's got very good variations and we should appreciate somebody who is a match winner," he remarked.
The Hyderabadi represented India in 28 Tests and 53 ODIs during the 90s, picking up 93 and 63 wickets respectively. Most of his career, he was in and out of the squad because of the presence of Kumble and Bhajji, who were much better spinners than him.
Raju reflected just that when he commented that there were many talented spinners in the country, which proved tough for the selectors. "And when there is a healthy competition it is always a headache for selectors. This year(2016) we are going to have 13 games in India. Spin is going to play a vital part and we need a lot of players in good form and good rhythm.”
Seeing the results of the last few Test series, Raju felt that playing three spinners was a good choice for the team in all conditions. "Probably they will require three spinners in between because of the amount of bowling which they are going to do to win matches. And you need this variety, because if you see in India, you have a leg spinner, an off spinner and a left-arm spinner,” he said.
“And we already have people who are waiting and they know whenever they get a chance they have to grab the option. The combination of Amit Mishra, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja and then you have got somebody like Axar Patel, waiting behind. It is very good for the future Indian team," he continued.