Indian captain Virat Kohli has lauded veteran spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and said that the off-spinner can play the role of an all-rounder in any condition. He said that the Tamil Nadu cricketer has impressed one and all with his ability with both the bat and the ball in recent times.
Ashwin has been doing the spin all-rounders role pretty well for the team after Ravindra Jadeja got injured and missed the ongoing three-match Test series against South Africa. After their setback in Centurion, the hosts South Africa bounced back strongly in the second Test at Wanderers to chase down a tricky 240 and level the three-match series at 1-1.
Ashwin played a stellar and important knock of 46 from 50 balls and was the team’s second-highest scorer, after stand-in skipper KL Rahul’s 50, as India managed 202 all out in the first innings of the second Test.
“Jadeja’s value everyone understands and what he has done for the team, but I think Ash has been playing that role pretty well for us. Ash knows that his game has come forward by leaps and bounds especially bowling overseas. He understands that himself from Australia onwards.
If you look at his batting contribution in the last Test and the way he bowled in the second innings I think that’s an outstanding contribution to the team. He’s in a very comfortable space where he’s willing to contribute to the team and he’s doing so in the right intention, in the right way,” Virat Kohli said on the eve of the third and final Test in Cape Town.
Ashwin returned wicket-less in the first innings, the off-spinner bagged 1/26 from his 11.4 overs in South Africa’s second innings, when the Proteas went on to win the Test match thanks to Dean Elgar’s 96*.
Ravichandran Ashwin Has Obviously Done The Job In Ravindra Jadeja’s Absence: Virat Kohli
Though usually, both Ashwin and Jadeja play together in home Tests, Jadeja is the preferred option for overseas Test matches due to his better batting and fielding abilities. In the recent Test series against England, Kohli opted for Jadeja over Ashwin, who sat out of all the four Test matches against England.
Kohli said it does not really matter to him when he has either Ashwin or Jadeja at his disposal: “When you have these two quality cricketers one or the other it really doesn’t matter. Unfortunately, Jadeja has had an injury. But Ash has obviously done the job in his absence and we have full faith that Ash can continue to play that role of spinning all-rounder for us in any condition that we play.”
Ashwin will be seen in action on spin-friendly Cape Town pitch in the third Test against South Africa which begins on January 11.