November 9, 2011

Wasim Akram feels Kotla-hero Ashwin has done enough to seal a berth for the Australia tour, but warns him against complacency.

Off-spinner R Ashwin made a sensational debut against the West Indies at the Ferozshah Kotla, picking up nine wickets and the Man-of-the-Match award. His guile and variations, besides helping India take a 1-0 lead in the three-Test series, impressed former Pakistan captain Akram, who reckoned the rookie’s effort was ‘excellent’.

“What I like about Ashwin is that he is not scared of flighting the ball, not just in Tests, but in T20s and ODI cricket too. He has got the variety, he has the carom ball, the quicker one and an easy action. Ashwin is young and his height allows him to get extra bounce. He bowled excellently in the second innings,” Akram said.

After lauding his efforts, Akram also warned the offie to keep complacency at bay. “His start has been terrific. I am sure after this performance he will be selected for the Australia tour. But what I do not want to see with Ashwin is what happened with Sri Lanka mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis. When Mendis came on to the scene he was unplayable but later everybody learnt what he does. So that is where Ashwin needs to change his tactics and develop more,” added the 45-year-old cricketer-turned-commentator.

Ashwin’s fireworks in the second innings of the first Test may have overshadowed Pragyan Ojha‘s 6/72 in the West Indies’ first essay but Akram insisted the duo could be the spin twin to watch out for India in the future. However, the Sultan of Swing, warned the tweakers against getting carried away, adding their true test would come Down Under.

“Yes they can be quite a team together, Ashwin has been very consistent off late, Ojha can turn the ball too. But the big test for them is not at home against the West Indies, it has to be Australia. Looking at the way Ojha is bowling, he too can make the cut for the big series. The Australia series will test the true mettle of these two spinners. Both of them have the ability to play consistently for India, especially under sub-continental conditions,” said the pace legend.

With both Ashwin and Ojha grabbing their opportunities, Harbhajan Singh, Akram felt, will feel the heat now. The Turbanator has been out of action from the international scene after the selectors decided to give him the cold shoulder thanks to an appalling show in England.

“With Ashwin picking up wickets in almost each game, it will be difficult for Harbhajan to make a return. There is pressure on him big time now. He has to play first class cricket and pick up wickets if he is looking to make it to the Australia series,” concluded Akram.

By Joshua Nath
Courtesy: ESPN STAR

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