INDIA TEAM DIRECTOR Ravi Shastri has praised Ravichandran Ashwin after the off-spinner’s impressive performances in the Test series against Sri Lanka led the Indian team to a historic victory.
Ashwin, who is now India’s go-to bowler in the spin department, collected 20 wickets in the series and was a delight to watch when in action. Shastri attributed Ashwin’s success to his patience and a relaxed mind. Shastri spoke to bcci.tv in an exclusive interview, after being given an extended tenure as team director till the 2016 World T20.
“We know he has got the brain of an astronaut. He has combined that intelligence with calmness and patience now. That bodes well for us because now the astronaut’s mind is helping Team India take flight. For me Ashwin is the best off-spinner in the world at the moment,” Shastri was quoted.
The former cricketer also appreciated the way Ashwin bowled to Kumar Sangakkara, one of the finest batsmen in the world. After all, it was a huge achievement for Ashwin, who became the first bowler in the world to dismiss Sanga four consecutive times in Tests.
“To stifle a class batsman like Sanga in his crease four times in a row was the mark of a world-class spinner who has realized that he is a world-class spinner,” he added.
Shastri termed his job as ‘challenging’ and ‘satisfying’, and credited the players as well as the support staff for their constant backing.
Talking about the occasional chop and change in India’s batting order, Shastri clarified that nobody in the team owns any batting position. It is, in fact, a sign of a good side in the making, when players are prepared to be flexible in their approach.
“Cheteshwar had to sit out a long time and then was asked to open the innings. Not for a moment did he complain or give any excuses, and the reward was there for everyone to see. Ajinkya Rahane was asked to go at 3 when we needed more stability after Shikhar’s injury. Rohit was asked to drop back. They both did it in the interest of the team and they scored runs. It is a case of doing things willingly for the team. These guys don’t think, ‘What if’? They say, ‘Why not’?”
Shastri concluded by lauding India’s newest Test captain, Virat Kohli, who he thinks is “the kind of guy who will go and open the batting if the situation arises”.
“The good thing is that we have a captain who is prepared to lead from the front in all these areas. And it will not have to come from anyone else. It will come from him. That kind of attitude spreads within the team.”