Come on Border-Gavaskar TrophyIndia’s first spinner Ravichandran Ashwin will play a decisive role in the outcome of the four-game Test series, believes former India head coach Ravi Shastri.
“If Ashwin is on fire it could decide the outcome of the series. He is world class in most conditions but in Indian conditions he is lethal. If the ball starts spinning and there is enough of bite on the surface, he will bother the hitters the most,” Shastri said.
Shastri also has some advice for Ashwin not to ‘over-plan’ against Australia as his bases will be good enough to produce results.
“Ashwin, you don’t want him to over-plan. He’s good enough to stick to his plans because he’s a real crucial player here. His form could decide the series. Ashwin comes in a package, it will get you important runs as well,” Shastri said, while answering a question from PTI during an interaction hosted by Star Sports, the official broadcasters of the Border Gavaskar Trophy.
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“So you don’t want Ashwin to think too much and try too many things. Stay there and let the pitch do the rest because as it is, it’s doing enough in India,” Shastri, one of the masterminds Indian Cricket’s Cleverest, Said.
Shastri, under whose tutelage India won back-to-back Test series in Australia, is also not shy about naming Kuldeep Yadav as his choice as the third spinner while keeping Suryakumar Yadav as a powerful game-changer of intermediate order.
To another question from PTI about his choice as the third spinner, Shastri replied, “As for the third spinner, I would like to see Kuldeep bowl right away. Jadeja and Axar are quite similar bowlers. Kuldeep is different. If you lose the cast on day 1, you need someone to give it a tear.
“If someone spins it on Day 1, it’s going to be Kuldeep. If the track doesn’t have too much to offer, then Kuldeep can come in.”
He also gave another important reason for including Kuldeep in the playing XI.
“As the game progresses with the Australians’ fast bowlers, the roughness created on both sides of the lane will come into play. So the wrist spinners can spin the ball back and forth.”
Shastri is shameless when asked what kind of lead he would like.
“I want the ball rolling from day one. Losing the draw, so be it. Something is on offer from day one, playing at home, profiting from it.”
(With PTI inputs)