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India lucky to have an all-round talent like Ravichandran Ashwin, says Waqar Younis

Legendary Pakistani pacer expects the Tamil Nadu spinner to break plenty more records

Ravichandran Ashwin
Ashwin has turned the attention on him with his remarkable consistency

Ravichandran Ashwin seems to be on a roll at the moment with one record after another tumbling in front of him. Following his ten wicket-haul in India’s landmark 500th Test match against New Zealand at Kanpur during which he became the second quickest bowler ever to complete 200 wickets, iconic Pakistani pacer Waqar Younis has lavished praise on his ability to contribute regularly in both departments of the game.

Speaking to Hindustan Times over phone from Dubai where he is currently doing commentary work for the T20I series between Pakistan and West Indies, the 44-year old also opened up on the circumstances surrounding his 200th Test wicket whilst expressing admiration for the Tamil Nadu all-rounder.

Waqar gushed, “I am happy for an intelligent bowler like Ashwin. Without doubt he is a quality bower and what he has achieved is amazing. He is not just taking wickets but also scoring runs. His all-round performance is outstanding. I am happy for him that he has achieved this milestone. He is young and has a lot of time. He can break a lot of records. Indian cricket is lucky to have such an all-round talent.”

Nicknamed the ‘Burewala Express’ for his fearsome pace, he tormented batsmen across the globe by extracting vicious reverse swing out of nowhere. In a stellar career comprising of 87 Tests, Waqar picked up 373 wickets at an average of 23.56 and an astounding strike-rate of 43.4 which is only lower than Dale Steyn’s 41.3 among all bowlers to have 200 or more wickets to their names.

Reminiscing his 200th Test scalp (in his 38th match) who incidentally was also a Kiwi, the former skipper noted, “It took me a couple of matches to get to my 200th Test wicket and I think I got it in New Zealand (in Christchurch, 1995). To get my 200th Test wicket, I had to wait a lot. I got it in the second inning. I think Dion Nash was the second-last man to get out.”

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However, Ashwin managed to get to the 200-mark in one Test lesser than the Pakistani legend when he trapped Kane Williamson in front.during the second innings of his 37th match. On spin-friendly pitches in India, the 30-year old has been wreaking havoc on a consistent basis with his drift and extravagant side-spin. But, his away record stands at 67 wickets from 17 Tests at an average of 33.23 as against his home statistics of 136 wickets from 20 matches at an average of 21.04.

Referring to the prevailing trend of home domination by almost all teams, Waqar believed, “It’s always a challenge to perform in overseas tours especially Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. But when Australia or New Zealand come to India or to the subcontinent, they always struggle. I think everyone enjoys cricket at home and they should.”

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