Ramiz Raja has termed Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin a “one-off genius” and observed that a bowler like him does not come very often.
Ravichandran Ashwin has scalped 409 wickets in the 78 Tests he has played for India, at an excellent average of 24.69. The lanky off-spinner is also the second-fastest to take 400 wickets in the longest format of the game, with the 77 Tests he took to achieve the milestone behind only the 72 taken by Muttiah Muralitharan.
Ramiz Raja: Ravichandran Ashwin Is An Amazing Off-spinner
During a discussion on India News about the potent Indian bowling attack for the World Test Championship (WTC) final, Ramiz Raja spoke in glowing terms about Ravichandran Ashwin.
“Ashwin is an amazing off-spinner. He has the floater, he spins the ball, delivers the ball from different angles and is intelligent. A one-off genius like him comes very rarely. So you should value him a lot,” said Raja.
On being asked about Pakistan having not produced quality off-spinners after the likes of Saqlain Mushtaq and Saeed Ajmal, the cricketer-turned-commentator highlighted that the ban on the ‘Doosra’ has made such bowlers ineffective.
“The two individuals you talked about, they had based their greatness on the Doosra. Since the time the Doosra has been sidelined, the spinners have to show themselves like Ashwin,” observed Raja.
The likes of Saeed Ajmal, Shane Shillingford, Sunil Narine, and Sachithra Senanayake have faced bans in the past due to excessive bends in their bowling arms. Even Mohammad Hafeez has been stopped from bowling on multiple occasions due to an illegal bowling action.
Ramiz Raja Feels Ravichandran Ashwin Can Break Muttiah Muralitharan’s Record Of Most Test Scalps
Ramiz Raja replied in the affirmative when asked if off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin can break Muttiah Muralitharan’s record of the most Test wickets. Ravichandran Ashwin still needs almost 400 wickets to breach Muttiah Muralitharan’s record.
“The pace at which he has been taking wickets, I feel he can break the record as well if he remains fit. His greatness is that he adjusts his bowling according to the different conditions,” said Ramiz Raja.
The former Pakistan player signed off by stating that Ravichandran Ashwin has proved that an off-spinner can be an attacking bowler even without employing the ‘Doosra’ as a variation.
“It is very difficult to be an attacking off-spinner when you do not have the Doosra. The art of off-spin changed from defensive to attacking because of the Doosra. Ashwin has so many varieties, even without the Doosra he tests the technique of the batsmen with different angles.
“He is mentally strong, has been doing captaincy, has the idea when to attack and when to be defensive. It is difficult to bowl with the fielders up and he is very accurate,” concluded Ramiz Raja.
Ravichandran Ashwin has just crossed the halfway mark of Muttiah Muralitharan‘s tally of 800 Test wickets. It will require a herculean effort from the 34-year-old to break the Sri Lankan spinner’s record considering his age. Ravichandran Ashwin is the fastest Indian bowler (also in some records the joint-fastest in the world) to reach the 400-wicket mark in Test cricket in terms of the number of innings.
In 2016, he became the third Indian to win the ICC Cricketer of the Year award. He is currently the highest-ranked spinner in Test cricket and the highest-ranked Test bowler for India on the ICC Player Rankings. He is ranked 2nd Test bowler with 850 rating points. Among all-rounders in Test, he is ranked 4th currently with 353 rating points.