Cape Town: Ravichandran Ashwin can play the all-rounder’s role in any conditions according to India skipper Virat Kohli. The leader said Monday that he is impressed by the premier off-spinner’s consistency with both bat and ball in recent years. It is a far cry from what happened during the last away Test series in England. Then Ravichandran Ashwin had to sit out in all four Tests as national outrage over his omission grew.
Kohli said Ashwin has filled in the void left by the injured Ravindra Jadeja in an outstanding manner.
“Jadeja’s value everyone understands and what he has done for the team. However, I think Ashwin has been playing that role pretty well for us,” Kohli said on the eve of the third and final Test here. “Ashwin knows that his game has come forward by leaps and bounds especially bowling overseas. He understands that himself from Australia onwards,” added the skipper.
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Ashwin played a stellar knock of 46 from 50 balls and was the team’s second highest scorer, after stand-in skipper KL Rahul’s 50, as India managed 202 all out in the first innings of the second Test.
While Ashwin returned wicket-less in the first innings, the off-spinner bagged 1/26 from his 11.4 overs in South Africa’s second essay.
“If you look at his batting contribution in the last Test and the way he bowled in the second innings I think that’s an outstanding contribution to the team. Ashwin is in a very comfortable space where he’s willing to contribute to the team. He’s doing so in the right intention, in the right way,” Kohli said, giving full support the senior player.
Kohli said it does not really matter to him when he has either Ashwin or Jadeja at his disposal. “When you have these two quality cricketers one or the other it really doesn’t matter. Unfortunately, Jadeja has had an injury. But Ashwin has obviously done the job in his absence and we have full faith that he can continue to play that role of spinning all-rounder for us in any condition that we play,” asserted Kohli.
KL is a balanced captain
Giving his take on his Rahul’s leadership, Kohli said he had a balanced approach but the Proteas outplayed India with their superlative chase. “He (Rahul) has handled it in a balanced way. What I saw from his plans and field placements that he tried his best to get wickets and breakthroughs in the second innings. But the situation was such that South Africa played well to chase the runs. I don’t think anything much could have been done by KL (Rahul),” Kohli pointed out.