"I see myself in Ravichandran Ashwin" - Anil Kumble
Anil Kumble, who will become the fourth Indian to be inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame on February 22, has heaped rich praise on current Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, saying that he is reminded of himself when he watches the 28-year-old in action. The 44-year-old veteran is India’s leading wicket-taker in Test cricket, with 619 scalps in 132 matches under his belt. The former Indian Test captain is known to choose his words wisely, making the praise for Ashwin all the more special.
When asked which current cricketer reminded Kumble of himself, he said: “I think a lot of people remind me of that. But as far as the attitude on the field is concerned – I don’t know how they are off the field because I have absolutely no idea – I sometimes see Ashwin and see myself in him, when he’s bowling, batting.
“He’s a better batsman than me, that’s for sure,” joked Kumble. “But yeah, I can see that grit, I can see the determination, I can see he wants to just hang around and do it for the team, so I see a lot of me in Ashwin.
“I think he’s a fantastic cricketer, he has achieved a lot in a short span. Of course, there’s been some question marks like – like how I had question marks when I played outside of India. The same thing is there with Ashwin as well, but he can only get better if he starts playing outside of India. If he doesn’t play outside of India, he’ll never get better. I certainly see Ashwin as someone who I believe has everything to be a fantastic cricketer for India.” added the leg spinner.
Ashwin is a very skilful bowler: Virat Kohli
Ashwin, meanwhile, was also complimented by current Indian vice-captain Virat Kohli after his crucial figures of 8-3-41-1 in India’s opening game against arch-rivals Pakistan went a long way towards securing India a victory.
“I was really happy to see him bowl the way he did in that first game,” said Kohli. “He is a very skillful bowler. I think he’s at his best when he wants to take wickets, and he was really aggressive in the last game. He was on top of the batsmen the whole time. It’s more of a mental battle going on on the field, and he was on top most of the time when he bowled.
“And those maidens were game-changers, to be honest. He got only, what, one wicket, but the way he bowled was absolutely outstanding, especially when you take into consideration you have five fielders in the ring and their spinners could not contain us so much,” added the 26-year-old.
The star batsman hoped that Ashwin could sustain his form right through to the end of the tournament, with his ability to exert pressure in the middle overs being an integral part of India’s bowling strategy in the shorter formats.
“The way he bowled on that wicket was pleasing to watch. He will be a key factor for us as long as he can be in that same mindset that he was in the first game, which is to take wickets and be on top of the batter. He’s had a great start and hopefully he can sustain that through the tournament.”