Former Pakistani spinner Danish Kaneria has heaped praise on India's Ravichandran Ashwin, describing him as a "gem of a player." Kaneria pointed out that when India are in dire straits, Ashwin more often than not bails his side out of trouble.
Kaneria's comments came in the wake of the hard-fought draw between India and New Zealand in the first Test at Kanpur. Ashwin scalped six wickets in the Test, moving past Harbhajan Singh as India's third-highest wicket-taker in the format. The ace off-spinner has 419 international Test wickets to his name in 150 innings.
While reviewing the match on his official YouTube channel, Danish Kaneria hailed Ashwin as a "champion cricketer."
"If I speak about the Indian bowlers then Axar (Patel) did some fantastic bowling. He took 6 wickets in total but Ravichandran Ashwin is a gem of a player," Kaneria said. "Whenever India are in need of wickets he provides them with it. Whenever India needs runs, he provides them with runs from the lower order. He is such a champion cricketer."
"The whole scene changed right after lunch" - Danish Kaneria on first Test between India and New Zealand
Danish Kaneria, who picked up 276 international wickets during his playing career, also pointed out that the state of the match changed right after lunch on Day 5.
After a wicketless morning session, India started to make inroads after lunch. After scalping three wickets in the second session, the Ajinkya Rahane-led side dismissed five Kiwi batters in the last session.
Reviewing the encounter, Kaneria highlighted the performance of the Indian spinners, pointing to how they took wickets at regular intervals.
"The whole scene was changed right after Lunch. There were wickets at regular intervals. Jadeja dismissed Ross Taylor and then took the wicket of the main player, Kane Williamson. He is really a tough player. Then after that when (Tom) Blundell was batting it seemed as if he would take the match away but Ashwin bowled him."
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Following the drawn Test in Kanpur, the two teams will battle out in the series decider in Mumbai on December 3.