December 9, 2013

Ashwin in the offspin pantheon

He is among the most successful bowlers of his kind, and excitingly, his best may yet be ahead of him
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R Ashwin removed Kieran Powell and Darren Bravo before the end of play © BCCI

The success of India's young offspinner R Ashwin in international cricket has prompted me to revisit my memories of some great bowlers of his tribe I have watched over the last five decades.

I never saw my earliest offspinner hero Jim Laker in flesh and blood because he did not play Test cricket in India. My only acquaintance with him was via radio broadcasts featuring the voices of the likes of Norman Yardley and John Arlott, and photographs. His immaculate bowling action, captured by still cameras, was etched in my cricket-crazy 1960s schoolboy mind - a perfect image of his easy run-up, high-arm action and perfect follow-through.

Reading about his Test cricket exploits (193 wickets in 46 Tests at an average of 21.24, an economy rate of 2.04, a strike rate of 62.3, best innings figures of 10 for 53, best match analysis of 19 for 90) and listening to radio commentary of his matches gave me a high rarely experienced afterwards.

According to Arlott, the voice of BBC's Test Match Special, Laker was a good bowler on all types of wickets. He spun the ball viciously and ran through sides on turning pitches at the lowest possible cost. On good wickets, whether in cool England or in tropical conditions, he could bowl over after over of perfect length and line. On those, he set the batsmen puzzles of length and flight.

I first saw Erapalli Prasanna in action in the final Test of the three-Test series between India and West Indies, at Chepauk, Madras, in January 1967. That was the first time Chandrasekhar, Bedi and Prasanna bowled together in a Test.

Prasanna was impressive in that game, though not incisive enough to cause a collapse in either innings. The bouncing run-up and tempting arc were very much in evidence, and so was a happy optimism, as if he expected a wicket every ball. For someone who was making his comeback to Test cricket after a hiatus of five years, he looked comfortable in his shoes, as if he had never doubted he belonged in the company of his seniors in the side.

Prasanna was one of the most confident bowlers I have seen, certainly the most aggressive offspinner. Short of stature and generously built, even plump at times, he had a springy run-up to the wicket, and he used that momentum to great effect. At his best he was perfectly side-on in his delivery stride, and he brought his right arm down quickly to maximise the spin he imparted to the ball. His variations were subtle - including intelligent use of the crease, and changes of grip, ranging from fingers loose and far apart to tight and close together, to control the amount of turn. He could bowl a flat, quick ball with the fingers close together, or a floater angling away from the bat by rolling his fingers over the seam. All these variations were marked by the magic of the ball dropping short of the length the batsman anticipated.

I admired Harbhajan Singh's confidence and spinning ability during his early years in Test cricket, but his relative lack of follow-through later made him a less attractive proposition. I find his successor, Ashwin, intriguing. I watched him gobble up wickets at the international level without ever looking as dangerous as, say, England's Graeme Swann, whose lovely run-up comes closest in my mind to Prasanna's. Compared to that of Prasanna, or the more erect, quicker-through-the-air Venkataraghavan - again classically side-on in finish - Ashwin's action is relatively ungainly, and he initially seemed obsessed with displaying a whole range of variations rather than in pegging away with deliveries that troubled batsmen. Yet the wickets kept coming, his victims often fooled by one mystery ball or other.

Incredibly, Muttiah Muralitharan, (with 55) is the only offspinner to have a better strike rate than that of Ashwin, who has so far grabbed a Test wicket for every 56 deliveries he has sent down, a record that leaves the likes of Swann, Laker, Anil Kumble, Harbhajan and the famed quartet behind, in that order. "Lies, damned lies and statistics," Benjamin Disraeli is said to have thundered once, but this is one number that cannot lie, and at this stage of his career Ashwin is the most successful Indian spinner of all time.

Watching recent developments in his bowling action and in the work ethic evidently behind it, it seems he is striving to achieve a smoother run-up and focusing on greater consistency of line and length and fewer bad balls, without sacrificing the creativity that made him special in the first place. He has also regularly demonstrated the ability to bounce back after punishment, a trait that puts him in the company of greats like Shane Warne. The thoughtfulness and sense of assurance he exudes on the field, no matter what the state of the game, bode well for him. It would seem the best of Ashwin is yet to come.

V Ramnarayan is an author, translator and teacher. He bowled offspin for Hyderabad and South Zone in the 1970s

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on December 10, 2013, 15:05 GMT

    Ashwin indeed has surprised many people with his success in test cricket. Some may argue that the success has come only on Indian wickets - and there will be some truth to that argument. Even so, for a T-20 architect to re-invent himself and find success in the longest format is worth a lot of credit. As a spinner, it is my observation that Ashwin is not as gifted as some of the others mentioned in this article. For him to have continued success, he has to continue to work hard on several aspects of his bowling and his fitness. He is one of the most intelligent students of the art, but he has to learn to threaten to get wickets under any conditions. I will be following his career with great interest.

  • Dashgar on December 10, 2013, 13:28 GMT

    @Sachin equal to Bradman(terrible name by the way) just because someone has failed in the same place a legend has failed doesn't mean they're a future legend. This writer is talking about Ashwin joining the ranks of the greats. Ashwin has only proven himself in India and even there he averages far higher than Murali did over his career, including games vs Australia. Ajantha Mendis is another player who comes to mind who burst onto the scene like Ashwin has. His career was undone by the lack of a stock ball. Ashwin has the same deficiency. In two years he could be lost to world cricket and back to the IPL as a professional mercenary. Where does Nathan Lyon fit in the pantheon? He has done far more tough time than Ashwin and is beginning to shine

  • on December 10, 2013, 10:51 GMT

    @Muhammad IqbalJunaid averages 29.19,Babar 44,Irfan 38.90,Rehman 27.55,Ajmal 26.54.Ye they are better bowlers than Ashwin?

  • on December 10, 2013, 10:36 GMT

    In australia and england,Indian pacers didn't do well.How could a spinner do well there?Ajmal ,Swann get wickets abroad because their pace bowlers perform well and make pressure on opposing batsman.Don't blame him until our quick bowlers do well. pacers will do well and the opposition will relax when he will come to bowl then he will get lots of wickets.

  • on December 10, 2013, 10:18 GMT

    Somehow,anyone who is related to N.Srinivasan or CSK is tagged to be an average player.You say that Ashwin,Raina get chances due to politics. Rohit who is said to be the most talented player failed many times,but he was given chances after chances.Amit Mishra never impressed too much,neither did Rahul Sharma.Pragyan Ojha and Ashwin play together but Ojha improved only after he got Ashwin's company but even ashwin outbowled him. He is still in his formative age.AJmal has years of experience with him. Is he a bad bowler only because he gives 5 more runs for every wicket or takes 1 over more to dissmiss a batsman?Murali has taken many wickets against bangladesh,zimbabwve and in sub-continent.Warne was not too successfull in India,where you would get best turning tracks.Then why he is not good?He never went to australia before.He is no. one allrounder not because he batted or bowled against you but due to his perfomance against international players.

  • on December 10, 2013, 8:22 GMT

    Had the privilege of watching great off spinners of the world. EAS Prasanna according to me was the best in this art I wonder how Mr. Ramnarayan missed the West Indian great, Lance Gibbs. I am confused if Ashwin's action can be legal specially when pauses before delivery of the ball. But then if Murli's action can be legal then Ashwin's cannot be questioned. Prasanna's action was poetry in motion. By the way I have seen Ramnarayan bowl while he played for Hyderabad.

  • on December 10, 2013, 8:21 GMT

    Ashwin's bowling average: Test: 27.47 ODI: 31.58 T20: 40.78 Looks like an average bowler.

  • CricIndia208 on December 10, 2013, 7:38 GMT

    Ashwin is a legitimate bowler, unlike Ajmal or Murali.

  • sachin_equal_to_bradman on December 10, 2013, 6:52 GMT

    @ zobab and Ashwin haters : Please be informed that the so called GREAT MURALI is such a ZERO in australia!!!! Why are u not understanding that cricket is condition based game!!! None can do everythin in all pitches ...Especially bowlers.... Are u really expecting Anderson or a broad or a Steyn to consistently win matches for u in sub-continent??? Or do u think MURALI can win u matches in AUS??? Or Can Swann win games in AUS??? They all can jus support... Ashwin is king in spinning conditions... But AJMAL is greater than Ashwin...But can ajmal bat like ash??? Thats wat. Jus encourage wat he has

  • tanstell87 on December 10, 2013, 6:48 GMT

    well most of Ashwin's success has come on dustbowls at home...he struggled in Australia in 2011/12 season...in the current series in South Africa he is struggling too...a spinner's job is to pick wickets and not contain...so i dont see Ashwin as a long term option for India in test cricket as well as one day format...likes of Amit Mishra, Pragyan Ojha, Rahul Sharma are far better than him, but they dont have required backing....& with India playing most of their cricket away from home in coming year, Ashwin is bound to struggle more..

  • on December 10, 2013, 15:05 GMT

    Ashwin indeed has surprised many people with his success in test cricket. Some may argue that the success has come only on Indian wickets - and there will be some truth to that argument. Even so, for a T-20 architect to re-invent himself and find success in the longest format is worth a lot of credit. As a spinner, it is my observation that Ashwin is not as gifted as some of the others mentioned in this article. For him to have continued success, he has to continue to work hard on several aspects of his bowling and his fitness. He is one of the most intelligent students of the art, but he has to learn to threaten to get wickets under any conditions. I will be following his career with great interest.

  • Dashgar on December 10, 2013, 13:28 GMT

    @Sachin equal to Bradman(terrible name by the way) just because someone has failed in the same place a legend has failed doesn't mean they're a future legend. This writer is talking about Ashwin joining the ranks of the greats. Ashwin has only proven himself in India and even there he averages far higher than Murali did over his career, including games vs Australia. Ajantha Mendis is another player who comes to mind who burst onto the scene like Ashwin has. His career was undone by the lack of a stock ball. Ashwin has the same deficiency. In two years he could be lost to world cricket and back to the IPL as a professional mercenary. Where does Nathan Lyon fit in the pantheon? He has done far more tough time than Ashwin and is beginning to shine

  • on December 10, 2013, 10:51 GMT

    @Muhammad IqbalJunaid averages 29.19,Babar 44,Irfan 38.90,Rehman 27.55,Ajmal 26.54.Ye they are better bowlers than Ashwin?

  • on December 10, 2013, 10:36 GMT

    In australia and england,Indian pacers didn't do well.How could a spinner do well there?Ajmal ,Swann get wickets abroad because their pace bowlers perform well and make pressure on opposing batsman.Don't blame him until our quick bowlers do well. pacers will do well and the opposition will relax when he will come to bowl then he will get lots of wickets.

  • on December 10, 2013, 10:18 GMT

    Somehow,anyone who is related to N.Srinivasan or CSK is tagged to be an average player.You say that Ashwin,Raina get chances due to politics. Rohit who is said to be the most talented player failed many times,but he was given chances after chances.Amit Mishra never impressed too much,neither did Rahul Sharma.Pragyan Ojha and Ashwin play together but Ojha improved only after he got Ashwin's company but even ashwin outbowled him. He is still in his formative age.AJmal has years of experience with him. Is he a bad bowler only because he gives 5 more runs for every wicket or takes 1 over more to dissmiss a batsman?Murali has taken many wickets against bangladesh,zimbabwve and in sub-continent.Warne was not too successfull in India,where you would get best turning tracks.Then why he is not good?He never went to australia before.He is no. one allrounder not because he batted or bowled against you but due to his perfomance against international players.

  • on December 10, 2013, 8:22 GMT

    Had the privilege of watching great off spinners of the world. EAS Prasanna according to me was the best in this art I wonder how Mr. Ramnarayan missed the West Indian great, Lance Gibbs. I am confused if Ashwin's action can be legal specially when pauses before delivery of the ball. But then if Murli's action can be legal then Ashwin's cannot be questioned. Prasanna's action was poetry in motion. By the way I have seen Ramnarayan bowl while he played for Hyderabad.

  • on December 10, 2013, 8:21 GMT

    Ashwin's bowling average: Test: 27.47 ODI: 31.58 T20: 40.78 Looks like an average bowler.

  • CricIndia208 on December 10, 2013, 7:38 GMT

    Ashwin is a legitimate bowler, unlike Ajmal or Murali.

  • sachin_equal_to_bradman on December 10, 2013, 6:52 GMT

    @ zobab and Ashwin haters : Please be informed that the so called GREAT MURALI is such a ZERO in australia!!!! Why are u not understanding that cricket is condition based game!!! None can do everythin in all pitches ...Especially bowlers.... Are u really expecting Anderson or a broad or a Steyn to consistently win matches for u in sub-continent??? Or do u think MURALI can win u matches in AUS??? Or Can Swann win games in AUS??? They all can jus support... Ashwin is king in spinning conditions... But AJMAL is greater than Ashwin...But can ajmal bat like ash??? Thats wat. Jus encourage wat he has

  • tanstell87 on December 10, 2013, 6:48 GMT

    well most of Ashwin's success has come on dustbowls at home...he struggled in Australia in 2011/12 season...in the current series in South Africa he is struggling too...a spinner's job is to pick wickets and not contain...so i dont see Ashwin as a long term option for India in test cricket as well as one day format...likes of Amit Mishra, Pragyan Ojha, Rahul Sharma are far better than him, but they dont have required backing....& with India playing most of their cricket away from home in coming year, Ashwin is bound to struggle more..

  • on December 10, 2013, 5:07 GMT

    A lot is said about the famed Indian quartet of spinners - Bedi, Pras, Venky and Chandra. They were good. But how many test series did they win for India- either at home or abroad?? Very few. An Anil Kumble has single handedly won more series than them- without being a spinner in the classical mould. It is still early days for Ashwin though. With his added batting skills, he looks on course to take over the test captaincy from MSD by 2015.

  • joseyesu on December 10, 2013, 4:42 GMT

    Aswhin to me is a less recognised player. Anyway his overseas record are not good. That is because it is for seamers and pacers. I remember only 1 player who has done reasonably good in all condtions now is STEYN. Can you name any other? There is an option floating around whether to include Swan for the 3 test in Ashes...

  • on December 10, 2013, 4:35 GMT

    Ashwin is a modern day offspinner and has picked up most of his wickets in India against weak opposition. Let him play consistently over a period of time to be called truly great. Let him also play well abroad something Kumble and Bhajji struggled to do. At this stage he can be called good but not great. Bhajji had a huge backing from Dada and Ashwin is backed by Dhoni similarly. One cant even compare him to Prasanna who is a legend and even Venky was superlative - the only thing is that did not play that often together. And why has the author ignored Saeed Ajmal and Saqlain Mushtaq?

  • on December 10, 2013, 4:03 GMT

    To the person who wrote this article- There's a huge difference between stats and numbers. Why dont you just take a look the number of tests he played away. He took only 9 wickets in those 3 test matches conceding 565 runs. I can name more than 30 off-spinners who did better than him. Sorry, but the argument you are trying to make here is not valid at all

  • srikanths on December 10, 2013, 4:03 GMT

    somehow ashwin never gives the feeling that you are watching a great spinner. He lacks the hip torque to give the ball a tweak, , he is not side one etc. Things that can be said in favour are the trajectory , the variations and most important a cool mind. With quite a few apparent deficiencies Vis a Vis a classic spinner he keeps ratcheting up wickets

    Even if he is half as successful abroad, I would say he could be easily considered on par with the great spinners of yesteryears, but one has to wait and watch the next year and half and decide. He would be playing a lot of away games

  • Longmemory on December 10, 2013, 3:39 GMT

    I find it very interesting that in a piece on the off-spinning pantheon, Ramnarayan has not written anything (barring a brief mention) of the off-spinner he possibly knew best: S Venkataraghavan. Does it have anything to do with Venky's famously short temper? Or perhaps the non-inclusion is itself a comment on where Ramnarayan rates Venky?

  • Coolwanderer on December 10, 2013, 3:10 GMT

    I am wondering how quickly people forgot the two beautiful edges, Ashwin generated from a classy batsman like Ricky Ponting to be dropped by Dravid, who does not normally drop straight forward chances. In Australian series, there were three drops for Ashwin. Sometimes poor fielding makes a bowler poor. At the end of that tour, I really felt for Ashwin and Ishant Sharma who were unlucky.

  • inswing on December 10, 2013, 2:28 GMT

    So far, Ashwin is not even close to Kumble or Harbhajan, let alone Murli or Warne. As has been mentioned by many, he has played in India against weak opposition, creating some decent stats. This means nothing. The three matches he played outside India he did terribly. He does not sniff any "pantheon". We will see when he gets to 300 wickets. My guess is that if he gets there, he will be averaging around 32, putting him firmly in "mediocre" category.

  • on December 10, 2013, 0:54 GMT

    He is good off spinerr,it is too early to compare him with bhajji

  • Andrew73 on December 9, 2013, 23:26 GMT

    It's early days for Ashwin, but I really hope he kicks on from here. Beyond being a deceptively dangerous bowler (as the author says he almost looks ungainly at times, but is very effective), he strikes be as being a very good cricketer all round. He has stood up with the bat numerous times when India have needed, seems to have a big heart to go with the skill. More overseas matches will be the litmus test, but I have a feeling he will find a way to succeed offshore in time. I wish he was ours not India's!

  • on December 9, 2013, 20:18 GMT

    Ramnarayan Sir, with due respect to your article... I find it totally intriguing to note that someone of your stature supporting Ashwin and you are mentioning he is creative.... honestly let us not talk statistics or wickets, we are yet to see Ashwin running through any side so far and whatever he has done has come wid WI side only.... His line & length is something to be questioned and he does not have a doosra and neither is off spinners are in the category of Muralis or Bhajjis or Ajmals or Swans... he simply thinks he can survive with his carrom ball which has been figured out by top class batsmen already. We have much better spinners in India than Ashwin and it will always remain a mystery on why he has been given such a long rope. Please note that am an Indian and am not critisizing Ashwin however he does not belong in the Top league of spinners for sure....

  • SyedAreYouDumb on December 9, 2013, 16:23 GMT

    Ashwin I think is a good bowler but is not amazing. His bowling in limited overs isnt that great as well... whilst other spinners have a better stats.

  • Rajeshj on December 9, 2013, 15:30 GMT

    Of course it is quite premature to rate Ashwin either this way or that way.. this also applies to all who have frowned at the singular praise lavished on Ashwin by the author.. He has played just 3 overseas tests out of 18 tests so far.. Even the great Javed Miandad took 21 tests and 3 years to record his first overseas century in Australia, and that in spite of touring Australia twice.. Ajmal has only two 5-wicket hauls in overseas against major teams, one each against England and SA... In SA, he took 11 wickets in one test and the other two tests he went almost wicketless.. Even the great Muralitharan took almost 3 years to record his first overseas 5-wicket haul.. so what do these numbers suggest.. Let us not judge/criticize a player from just a few outings in overseas matches.. This applies even to author in praising him prematurely.. Allow him a few more abroad series and then take a call..

  • safyan_iqbal on December 9, 2013, 15:22 GMT

    saqlain mushtaq played 3 tests in india..makes 6 innings..n he has 4 five wicket n 2 ten wicket hauls in them...24 wickets in 3 tests total...i think his name was mandatory here.

  • on December 9, 2013, 14:57 GMT

    Ashwin is good only in india, he cant even bowl in UAE tracks on slowish turner, far too much reliance on the pitch..Well lets see how he performs in SA, author forget to mention LIVING LEGEND SAEED AJMAL....he is playing all his cricket on neutral venues but still manages to penetrate in the batting orders..

  • vjwithcricinfo on December 9, 2013, 14:51 GMT

    Outside Subcontinent,Ashwin should rely upon his offspinners and faster offspinners and with his height I think he could be potent..even if he doesn't bowl his "doosras" and carrom balls , he will make batsmen think about the next delivery..Need to prove himself in SA now..big time for Ash..

  • on December 9, 2013, 14:40 GMT

    Yeah he's a good slow bowler on Indian dead and slow pitches but outside India he has been totally ordinary. So he has to prove that he's a good bowler on overseas pitches as well. Still long way to go rather miles to go to join the elite group of Ajmal,Murlidharan,Saqlain,Abdul Qadir,Shane Warne,L.Gibbs even Dharmasena!!! What makes him below average is his clumsy and ridiculous falling trough! His pauses are of no help to deceive the batters. He should not be a copy-cat. Rather he should be a natural one. India overall has not produced a single legendary bowler yet. Kapil and Srinath were just ok. Their averages speak volume of them, the same applies to Ashwin. I don't think he can ever go for five for on foreign pitches outside India if he does that then that will be amazing if not miracle. His batting is also good but only on India's typical dead and slow pitches. He's to prove that he's a handy all rounder by scoring runs everywhere. He's to work upon his facial expressions also!!

  • gsingh7 on December 9, 2013, 13:40 GMT

    ashwin is indian mendis. his doosra teesras are seeming ineffective in sa. bhajji played a vital role in last sa tour to draw series 1-1 with his 7 for in one of the innings. i wud consider ashwin a successful heir to bedi and bhajji if he can perform half as good as bhajji in sa. until then he should concentrate to giving more rips to the ball than raina or jadeja and bowling with a smoother action.

  • Dashgar on December 9, 2013, 13:21 GMT

    After a day being thrashed around the SCG by Michael Clarke, Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey Ashwin declared that he hadn't bowled a single bad ball. That spoke volumes to me of what he had left to learn. Test cricket is not about avoiding bowling bad balls. It is about building a plan to a batsman. Finding a way to get them out. You can quote stats to Ashwin and he'll probably be very proud of them. Quote stats to Warne or Murali and they'll zone out completely. Bowling isn't about your stats, it's about the contest you have with a batsman and how you win that contest. Ashwin is far from proving he has the stomach for that contest when the going gets tough.

  • MCC_Tie on December 9, 2013, 13:20 GMT

    WOW... just over 100 wickets at an average not far off 30 and he is ready to join the "pantheon" despite hardly playing outside of India. The arrogance of Indian cricket continues to astound.

  • DRS_Flawed_NeedsImprovement on December 9, 2013, 13:16 GMT

    ashwin is in early stages of his international cricket, played only 3 matches outside subcontinent (in australia). I know his average is 54 something.

    ok, what warne achieved in spin friendly indian conditions? what murali achieved in his 5 matches against oz in oz?

    ok, what swann achieved in oz (struggling now). ajmal struggled against SA in second test match, that too in UAE. so dont criticize ashwin blindly for his indian nationality.

    u cannot judge ashwin bcz with these 3 matches, bcz no offspinner performed well in oz.

  • msm29 on December 9, 2013, 13:07 GMT

    In this article, all the praise for Ashwin is way too premature. In all, he has played 18 tests out of which 15 were in India. By no means can he be in the same league as Kumble, Bedi, Chandra et al. Not even Bhaji. Agreed numbers don't lie and Ashwin has had a good start to his career. But that's it. Too early to consider anything else. Reckon a mention of Ashwin's achievements without comparisons to the greats would have been more appropriate.

  • on December 9, 2013, 13:00 GMT

    Boy, if praise was ever premature, this is it. But then again it's understandable. Kohli is the next Vivian Richards, Mitchell Johnson is placed alongside Wasim and James Anderson is better than Dale Steyn. The 3 big powers in the world seem to think their cricketers can attain greatness faster than any other nation's. Let these players prove themselves over a period of time and in different conditions and different formats before singing their praises. Otherwise these become empty words.

  • on December 9, 2013, 12:23 GMT

    no mention of Saqlain...interesting

  • on December 9, 2013, 11:28 GMT

    No respect, unless can get wickets in Sth Africa and Australia.

  • on December 9, 2013, 11:17 GMT

    but my last comment doesnt mean tht ashwin is not good...taking 41 wickets in 6 matches home this year..at average of 20 and strike rate of 46 is itself an achievement..but as i mentioned earlier.his real test will b outside india as other spinners have performed much better outside home..

  • on December 9, 2013, 11:01 GMT

    ashwin have only in india and has been effective...outside india he has played 3 test matches and got only 9 wickets at strike rate of 112 and average 62 ! and no 5 wicket hauls...to be able to come in line with greats u will have to prove urself outside india...like saqlain played total 49 tests..and 30 of them were not in home . in those 30 tests he took 131 wickets at strike rate of 69 and average 30, which includes 9 five wicket hauls and 3 ten wickets.

  • on December 9, 2013, 10:51 GMT

    As @sifter132 says Chandra is probably the best because of his overseas record. I think Ashwin will eventually do well in spin friendly tracks in the WI, Eng and others. He seems to have evolved beyond the "mystery bowler" stage (unlike a Mendis). On seaming tracks, his ODI experience should help him do a holding job at one end, and given his height, maybe grab a few with extra bounce. Plus in the subcontinent, he can be the allrounder in the side, even coming in at 7. From his calmness and outward maturity, it's likely that he has captaincy potential as well (and follow the foot steps of Bedi, Kumble, Vettori as spinner-captains).

  • jokerbala on December 9, 2013, 10:16 GMT

    Ashwin is not dangerous outside home turning tracks because he does not have doosra in his armory. The carrom ball bowled with a pure action can never match up to the doosra in my opinion, that is why I have more respect bowlers like Swann and Ashwin.

  • on December 9, 2013, 10:03 GMT

    I have no clue he was such a great bowler. Is he as good as Ajmal? Any given day it will be Akmal who will be picked for his bowling prowess. Even saqlain was a better off spinner as compared to ashwin.

  • ansram on December 9, 2013, 9:39 GMT

    Too early to evaluate Ashwin with other great bowlers. He also has to prove himself outside India.

  • pantherapardus on December 9, 2013, 8:44 GMT

    V. Ramanarayan: Sir, with due respect to your knowledge please let him play at least 50 tests to compare him with other greats of the game. It is way too early to say anything about him.. and @satzz: you are right but I don't rate Denis lilee as the greatest fast bowler because he was quite afraid of bowling in subcontinent and to remind you Glenn mcgrath was a successful bowler in the subcontinent that is why he was a great bowler. And for me Malcom marshall was the most complete bowler

  • sifter132 on December 9, 2013, 8:25 GMT

    Ashwin has certainly been successful in India, and he has the raw ability to succeed into the future. But crowning him as a great spinner right now is very premature. A great spinner is more rounded. Yes even greats like Murali and Warne have holes in their records (Murali in Aus, Warne in Ind), but generally they were successful outside their own nation's pitches. It's not easy though, even the great Anil Kumble averaged 35.2 outside Asia vs 27.00 in subcontinent. FYI, the only Indian spinners to average less than 30 in India and less than 35 outside India are: Bedi, Chandrasekhar, Prasanna, Gupte, Nadkarni. That's why I think Chandrasekhar is still the best Indian spinner, better than Kumble at taking wickets outside Asia.

  • CamH on December 9, 2013, 5:59 GMT

    Ashwin's career to date is somewhat symbolic of the Indian test team as a whole. Outstanding performances at home on pitches doctored to suit but in the few away tests played highly ineffective. To gain more respect from foreign fans the Indians need to play on less doctored pitches at home and stand up overseas. The great Indian team that included Sewhag, Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman, Kumble, Srinath et al earned great respect around the world because they stood up at home and away against very good opposition and without the pitches being quite so doctored at home as the current team seems to demand.

  • on December 9, 2013, 5:58 GMT

    I think Ajmal is the superior bowler because Ajmal has better stats away and neutral because he doesn't play in Pakistan. Ashwin is not a good bowler only on turning pitches. Look at effectiveness of Pakistani Spinners against SA compared to Indian Spinners.

  • on December 9, 2013, 5:49 GMT

    Calling Ashwin 'Great' is like the English cricket writers describing Greame Swann as the 'Greatest spinner in the world' only a couple of years back. Today the discussion is whether to drop him in the third test

  • DRS_Flawed_NeedsImprovement on December 9, 2013, 4:50 GMT

    what philander achieved in subcontinent? How many matches has he played in subcontinent? since he has not played more in sub, does not he deserve anything for his bowlin? what swann achieved in AUS, SA?

    I just want to ask few questions to 'so called' knowledgble cricket fans. who said or how could you are saying bouncing and seaming pitches are real pitches?

    of total test playing nations india, pak and SL, bangladesh are turning pitches, NZ SA, ENG and AUS are seaming pitches.

  • Udendra on December 9, 2013, 4:41 GMT

    yeah, good only in India.

  • satzzz on December 9, 2013, 4:40 GMT

    I am not sure why people wanna bring Ashwin's stats outside subcontinent into the picture? If you take the same yardstick, can you guys compare how well the likes of the McGraths, the Lees, the Lillees and other fast bowlers bowled in the subcontinent. Even the great Shane Warne and Ponting were below average in India. So, taking the same yardstick can you term these oz greats as overrated? Accept the fact that Ashwin is good in his own terms and is one of the best bowlers in the world now.

  • on December 9, 2013, 4:21 GMT

    I agree with zobab. All one day double centuries have been made in India. To defeat India in his country is almost impossible. India change the world history. No one could win world cup in his country except India. India is great team only in India. Outside India is zero. South Africa will white wash for India. India is not playing professional games they have batting strength, they are making batting wickets. They should make fast pitches, where the batsman can show his skills.

  • on December 9, 2013, 2:43 GMT

    Dustbowl bowler: nothing else.

  • zobab on December 9, 2013, 2:24 GMT

    R Ashwin 2011-2012 3 5 1008 565 9 3/81 5/267 62.77 3.36 112.0 0 0 This is Ashwin's record outside INDIA? 15 of his 18 games have been played in India, where Dhoni asks for "rank turners". Please, Ashwin is way too overrated. 9 wickets at an average of 63 and strike rate of 112. OH YEA, I can see how he is the greatest spinner in the world.

  • zobab on December 9, 2013, 2:15 GMT

    I'm sorry, how many tests has Ashwin played outside the sub-continent? And how is his record outside the subcontinent compared to the others?

  • zobab on December 9, 2013, 2:15 GMT

    I'm sorry, how many tests has Ashwin played outside the sub-continent? And how is his record outside the subcontinent compared to the others?

  • zobab on December 9, 2013, 2:24 GMT

    R Ashwin 2011-2012 3 5 1008 565 9 3/81 5/267 62.77 3.36 112.0 0 0 This is Ashwin's record outside INDIA? 15 of his 18 games have been played in India, where Dhoni asks for "rank turners". Please, Ashwin is way too overrated. 9 wickets at an average of 63 and strike rate of 112. OH YEA, I can see how he is the greatest spinner in the world.

  • on December 9, 2013, 2:43 GMT

    Dustbowl bowler: nothing else.

  • on December 9, 2013, 4:21 GMT

    I agree with zobab. All one day double centuries have been made in India. To defeat India in his country is almost impossible. India change the world history. No one could win world cup in his country except India. India is great team only in India. Outside India is zero. South Africa will white wash for India. India is not playing professional games they have batting strength, they are making batting wickets. They should make fast pitches, where the batsman can show his skills.

  • satzzz on December 9, 2013, 4:40 GMT

    I am not sure why people wanna bring Ashwin's stats outside subcontinent into the picture? If you take the same yardstick, can you guys compare how well the likes of the McGraths, the Lees, the Lillees and other fast bowlers bowled in the subcontinent. Even the great Shane Warne and Ponting were below average in India. So, taking the same yardstick can you term these oz greats as overrated? Accept the fact that Ashwin is good in his own terms and is one of the best bowlers in the world now.

  • Udendra on December 9, 2013, 4:41 GMT

    yeah, good only in India.

  • DRS_Flawed_NeedsImprovement on December 9, 2013, 4:50 GMT

    what philander achieved in subcontinent? How many matches has he played in subcontinent? since he has not played more in sub, does not he deserve anything for his bowlin? what swann achieved in AUS, SA?

    I just want to ask few questions to 'so called' knowledgble cricket fans. who said or how could you are saying bouncing and seaming pitches are real pitches?

    of total test playing nations india, pak and SL, bangladesh are turning pitches, NZ SA, ENG and AUS are seaming pitches.

  • on December 9, 2013, 5:49 GMT

    Calling Ashwin 'Great' is like the English cricket writers describing Greame Swann as the 'Greatest spinner in the world' only a couple of years back. Today the discussion is whether to drop him in the third test

  • on December 9, 2013, 5:58 GMT

    I think Ajmal is the superior bowler because Ajmal has better stats away and neutral because he doesn't play in Pakistan. Ashwin is not a good bowler only on turning pitches. Look at effectiveness of Pakistani Spinners against SA compared to Indian Spinners.

  • CamH on December 9, 2013, 5:59 GMT

    Ashwin's career to date is somewhat symbolic of the Indian test team as a whole. Outstanding performances at home on pitches doctored to suit but in the few away tests played highly ineffective. To gain more respect from foreign fans the Indians need to play on less doctored pitches at home and stand up overseas. The great Indian team that included Sewhag, Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman, Kumble, Srinath et al earned great respect around the world because they stood up at home and away against very good opposition and without the pitches being quite so doctored at home as the current team seems to demand.