Kolkata: Veteran coach Dav Whatmore hailed the no. 1 ranked Test bowler Ravichandran Ashwin aka Ash, as one of the most valuable cricketers in the world and also said that Australia would have to work really hard when they tour India next month, according to NDTV.
Whatmore said, “He (Ashwin) is one of the most valuable players in the world. Not just with the ball but he can make a 100 at no. 6. He is a very smart boy. Comes from Tamil Nadu and is an engineer. What an asset to have. Virat Kohli must be really happy to have him. (Muttiah) Muralitharan was absolutely world class (but) he didn’t bat as well as Ashwin could do.”
Whatmore has rightly praised the Indian all-rounder. He enjoyed a prolific run both with the bat and ball in 2016 and justified the faith the Test skipper Virat Kohli showed in him. Sent to bat at no 6 ahead of the wicket-keeper, the right-hander scored four tons in 2016 (all of which have come against the West Indies) and also broke a few other records. He became the fastest Indian and fifth fastest overall to get to 100 Test wickets and also became the third Indian after the great Kapil Dev and Vinoo Mankad to score 500 runs and scalp 50 wickets in a calendar year. He along with the Test skipper Virat Kohli performed consistently and took India to the no 1 spot in the Test rankings.
On Australia’s tour of India next month, Whatmore said, “For a start Australia have their best T20 team. Certainly it’s a huge test coming to India, particularly in the recent times when you got incredible levels of skill and self belief. You got a wonderful Test match team. A new captain as well and everybody is supporting each other. Australia have their work cut out.”
Regarding the problems that Australia might encounter on the India tour, the veteran coach said that he wasn’t concerned with the fact that whether the team picked four spinners instead of stacking their bowling line-up with fast bowlers. He said, “Not really because when you know even Shane Warne may not have got the number of wickets people expect; that’s a difficult area to measure when you have a leg-spinner in the team the confidence that it gives to everybody else they begin to measure that but it does make the difference when you have good experienced players.”
Whatmore also added, “They don’t have (Glenn) McGrath or Warne, who have 1000 wickets between them, now. And they now come to India. Batsmen play spin well in Australia. But playing spin here is a totally different kettle of fish,”
Whatmore, who coached the World Cup winning Sri Lankan team in 1996 said that Indian fast bowling had improved a lot in the recent times. “Fast bowlers (earlier) would get the ball dirty and give it to the spinners. Now there are some really good pace bowlers and swing bowlers, especially Bhuvneshwar Kumar and others,” Whatmore said.
(With inputs from PTI)