“Rare to have players like him” - Rohit Sharma hails Ravichandran Ashwin ahead of latter’s 100th Test

India v England - 3rd Test Match: Day Two
Ravichandran Ashwin celebrates a wicket with teammates. (Pic: Getty Images)

Team India captain Rohit Sharma has heaped praise on seasoned off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin ahead of the Dharamsala Test, saying that players like the Tamil Nadu off-spinner are very rare.

Ashwin will be featuring in his landmark 100th Test when India face England in the fifth and final Test in Dharmasala, which starts on Thursday, March 7. Earlier in the series, he had become the second Indian bowler, after Anil Kumble, to claim 500-plus Test scalps.

At a press conference ahead of the Dharmasala Test, Rohit acknowledged Ashwin’s massive contribution to Indian cricket.

"Big achievement for any player to play 100 Tests. He has been a match winner for us. What he has done for us, no praise is enough," the Indian captain was quoted as saying by PTI.
"His performances over the last five-seven years, every series he has contributed. It is rare to have players like him," he added.

In 99 Tests, Ashwin has claimed 507 scalps at an average of 23.91, with 35 five-fers and eight 10-wicket match hauls.

While hailing the veteran off-spinner, Rohit also threw his weight behind Rajat Patidar, who has been short of runs in his debut Test series.

"Rajat Patidar has very good abilities. I like him. I see him as a talented player. We need to give him some more time," the Indian skipper commented.

In three Tests, Patidar has only managed 63 runs at an average of 10.50, with a best of 32, which came in his first Test innings in Visakhapatnam.

“It has been a series of comebacks for us” - Rohit Sharma

India began the Test series against England in a disappointing fashion. They went down by 28 runs in the first Test in Hyderabad despite having a significant first-innings lead. The hosts, though, fought back to clinch the next three games and the series.

Reflecting on India’s performances in the Test series, Rohit hailed the team for showing fighting qualities and overcoming challenges.

"It has been a series of comebacks for us. Whenever we were put under pressure we were able to put the pressure back on the opposition. That was pleasing for me," the Indian captain said.

Asked for his assessment of the Dharamsala pitch, Rohit described it as a typical Indian surface but admitted that there could be some help for seamers owing to the chilling temperatures.

"Looks like a typical Indian pitch. There will be some movement when the temperature drops but looks like a good pitch," he said.

By winning the fourth Test in Ranchi, India extended their winning streak in home Test series to 17. They will be keen to end the series against England with a 4-1 scoreline.

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