Hopefully Ashwin Has Shut Up Critics, He’s a Class Act: Anil Kumble

Written by Vipin Darwade

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.

“You don’t want your premier spinner to be discussed before a Test series or a Test match, thinking about whether he’ll make it to the team,” Kumble told Cricketnext. “I think it’s sad but he’s showed his class. He’s the fastest to 350 Test wickets, it’s something amazing. You know, I think Ashwin, not just as a bowler but as an all-rounder, is an asset to the team. Him and Ravindra Jadeja will give you enough armoury with the spin and can also give you solid batting performances consistently, and they’ve done that in the lower-middle order for India.

“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.

About the author

Vipin Darwade