Heaping praise on Ravichandran Ashwin, former India wicketkeeper Kiran More called him “an asset” to the Indian team and a genuine all-rounder who has “matured as wine”.
Ashwin’s maiden hundred at his home ground in Chennai, along with a match haul of nine wickets architected India’s win in the second Test against England as the hosts leveled the series 1-1.
Ashwin’s resistance with the bat in Sydney last month helped India draw the Test against Australia. While the cricketer’s renaissance with the bat is being lauded in the cricket fraternity, Kiran More maintains that Ashwin was always a valuable all-rounder. His five Test hundreds stand testimony to the same.
In an exclusive interview with Sportskeeda’s Indranil Basu on SK Live, the former chief selector went on to call Ashwin one of the best all-rounders in world cricket.
“He’s a matured wine. He has five hundreds and when you have that you are an all-rounder. I always thought he was a better batsman (than what he is perceived). He plays very correctly and has some great shots. He can cut well, pull well and he has always batted well. It’s not that he started batting well after Sydney. Maybe the knock gave him more confidence.
“He’s an asset for the Indian team. When you talk about all-rounders, Ashwin is amongst the best in world cricket,” said Kiran More, who played 49 Tests and 94 ODIs for India between 1984 and 1993.
Kiran More’s full interview
Ashwin’s century was his first fifty-plus score in three-and-a-half years. However, Kiran More reckons that the dip in Ashwin’s batting form was temporary and may have been due to his focus on bowling as he has added more variety to his armory.
With 16 fifty-plus scores, which include five centuries, Ashwin averages 28.23 with the bat in Test cricket and has 394 wickets to his name at 25.2.
Ravichandran Ashwin and Nathan Lyon are the best spinners in the world: Kiran More
Kiran More believes that there’s a dearth of off-spinners in world cricket and while everyone goes gaga over wrist-spinners, this might be the era of successful off-spinners.
Backing 34-year-old Ashwin to end up with over 600 wickets, Kiran More named the Indian off-spinner and Nathan Lyon as the best longer-format spinners in the world.
“Ashwin is definitely going to take over 600 wickets. India should feel proud that they have Ashwin. When we look at world cricket, there are hardly any quality off-spinners. Teams like England and Sri Lanka are trying to develop. In Nathan Lyon, Australia have one of the finest off-spinners.
"Off-spinners are taking more wickets than anyone else. We talk of wrist-spinners being among wickets, but this era might end up being for off-spinners. Nathan Lyon and Ashwin are the best spinners globally,” added Kiran More, the former chairman of selectors.
With the series level at 1-1, there are two more Tests to go. A 2-1 result is the worst India can afford against England to secure qualification for the World Test Championship Final.