A cursory glance at all the current cricket teams in the world will give you an idea that at the moment, India possess one of the more superior Test bowling attacks in the world. Along with a healthy stock of fast bowlers that include Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, youngsters Navdeep Saini and Mohammed Siraj, the Indian team also has a rich experience in the spin department.
Veteran off-spinner R Ashwin and all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, coupled with the left-arm spin of Axar Patel can cause serious trouble to the opposition batting line-up irrespective of the pitch. In fact, Ashwin is one of the best spinners India has ever produced. With 409 wickets in just 78 Tests, at a staggering average of 24.69, the Tamil Nadu spinner became the second-faster bowler in Tests to breach the 400-wicket milestone. He achieved it in 77 Tests, only second to Sri Lanka legend Muttiah Muralitharan, who got there in 72 Tests.
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Former Pakistan batsman Ramiz Raja recognizes the greatness of Ashwin, as he observed that he is a “one-off genius” and that a bowler like him does not come too often.
While discussing Virat Kohli-led India’s bowling line-up for the World Test Championship (WTC) final against Kane Williamson’s New Zealand, Raja was quoted as saying the following.
“Ashwin is an amazing off-spinner. He has the floater, he spins the ball, delivers the ball from different angles and is intelligent. A one-off genius like him comes very rarely. So you should value him a lot,” Raja told India News.
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While talking about the lack of quality off-spinners in Pakistan cricket after the retirements of Saqlain Mushtaq and Saeed Ajmal, the cricketer-turned-commentator remarked that the ban on the ‘doosra’ is the root of the problem. The likes of Ajmal, Shane Shillingford, Sunil Narine, and Sachithra Senanayake have faced bans in the past due to excessive bends in their bowling arms.
“The two individuals you talked about, they had based their greatness on the Doosra. Since the time the Doosra has been sidelined, the spinners have to show themselves like Ashwin,” observed Raja.
Ashwin, along with the rest of the Indian team will leave for the UK on June 2. Following the WTC final, India play a five-match series against England.