Before the 2020-21 Australian tour, many doubted whether Ravichandran Ashwin could perform on foreign pitches. However, after a series where he was India’s most prolific spinner, Ravichandran Ashwin has said he is the team's best option in SENA (South Africa, England, New Zealand, Australia) countries.
Speaking to Times of India, Ravichandran Ashwin observed that he has excelled with the ball in recent SENA tours, saying in this regard:
"I am looking to fight for my place, and when I'm doing that I need to emphasise my primary skill, which is to pick up wickets. Over the last two years in SENA tours, I think I have done enough to say I am the best spinner."
In the last three years, Ravichandran Ashwin has picked 32 wickets in nine Tests in SENA countries.
The next best Indian spinner on the list is Ravindra Jadeja, who has 23 wickets in six games to his name. Kuldeep Yadav, the man once touted by Ravi Shastri as India’s number one spinner on foreign soil, has only five wickets during this period, although he has played just two Tests.
While Ashwin has picked the most wickets, interestingly both Kuldeep Yadav and Jadeja have fared better in terms of bowling averages in SENA countries.
Ravindra Jadeja tops the list 26.47, followed by Kuldeep Yadav (28.6). Ravichandran Ashwin, on the other hand, has had a bowling average of 29.81 in SENA countries during this period.
Ravichandran Ashwin opens up on batting struggles
Once pegged as an all-rounder in all three formats of the game, Ravichandran Ashwin’s batting form has taken a hit in recent years. That’s another reason why he has fallen behind Ravindra Jadeja on certain occasions, with Ravichandran Ashwin admitting that the constant chopping and changing hasn’t helped.
“Ever since I've just been playing Test cricket, it's pretty much one game here or there. I’m constantly fighting for a lone spinner’s spot. If I have to be judged on my batting skills, then an innings or two alone to drop me out of a particular series, I felt, wasn’t justified,” said Ravichandran Ashwin.
However, Ashwin did play a match-saving innings of 39* off 128 balls on the fifth day of the SCG Test, coping a bevy of body blows during a defiant partnership with Hanuma Vihari.
He didn't speak much about his Sydney knock. But Ravichandran Ashwin mentioned that people need to be more understanding about a player’s performances when they are playing only one format, saying in this regard:
“There have been questions raised over my batting since that West Indies tour (in 2016). But one more thing that needs to go into consideration is (that) I was playing all formats of the game (at that point of time). Sometimes, roles of people just playing Test cricket alone don't really sit down well or people don't make an effort to understand how it works.”