Anil Kumble put his weight behind R Ashwin, calling him a ‘class act’ and stressing he’s India’s premier spinner in Tests. Ashwin was left out of the XI for the two Tests in West Indies, with India opting for the lone spinner in Ravindra Jadeja. Ashwin was an obvious choice in the side in home conditions, and showed why with a seven-wicket haul in the first innings against South Africa in Visakhapatnam. He then became the joint fastest to 350 Test wickets in the second innings of the game.
“So, I don’t see a reason why anyone needs to go beyond these two spinners unless there’s something else that you want to look for, or if one of them is not fully fit. If you’re considering a third spinner, then yes, Kuldeep is of course a genuine spinner, and you’d want a wrist spinner to be in your team. But having said that, Ashwin is your premier spinner and I’m certainly happy with what he’s done because you can’t stop people from discussing. But, now hopefully he would have shut them up. He’s a class act.”
Explaining why Ashwin is so dominant, especially in subcontinent conditions, the former legspinner pointed to subtle variations and ability to bowl consistently knowing the pitch was flat.
South Africa scored 431 in their first innings but Ashwin worked hard, getting 7 for 145 from 46.2 overs.
“I think it is the subtle variations that he comes up with and what was really satisfying was that it was a flat wicket and he knew he has to bowl consistently on one side of the pitch and on one side of the wicket. The line was consistent, the length was consistent, he kept varying his pace and trajectory and he wasn’t experimenting too much,” said Kumble.