India’s Ravichandran Ashwin is currently one of the best spinners in world cricket, especially in Test cricket. The veteran cricketer has been hailed by many elite batters and was also recently on the receiving end of plenty of praise from Australian batter Marnus Labuschagne. Speaking to Cricbuzz, Labuschagne praised Ashwin’s record and also stated that “you obviously have to lift your game” when batting against the off-spinner. Explaining why Ashwin’s tactical sense is different from other spinners, Labuschagne said, “The reason Ashwin’s record is so good is because he’s a tremendous thinker of the game. So, he’s always thinking about how he can get you out. About what you are doing. And so what he’s doing to counter that?”
“And then he seems to go, “Ok now I’m going to change, so that you’re going to do this.” That’s what makes him really good. Now, not all bowlers are like that. There are other bowlers who have really good deliveries and can bowl really well but that thinking of getting you out, that’s an acquired skill.”
“On some wickets, it’s easy. Because you just need to put the ball there and the wicket will do the work. But I think Ashwin has played on plenty of wickets where he’s had to create the work, he’s had to create the angles, come tight or come wide.”
“And that’s why it’s really good to play against guys like Ashwin. You obviously have to lift your game because he’s lifted his game”, he further added.
Since making his Test debut in 2011, Ashwin has gone on to register 430 wickets in 84 red-ball games so far. He has also taken 151 wickets in 113 ODI matches and has 61 dismissals to his name in 51 T20I games.
Labuschagne spoke about how he faced Ashwin in the 2020-21 Border-Gavaskar Trophy and explained why he batted with an open stance while facing his deliveries and tried to hit through the covers.
“I’ve always been quite good at hitting the ball through there. It’s just more of a tactical decision. As simple as it is, you’ve got to try and hit the ball where there’s the least number of fielders. Now in those times you’re speaking about, Ashwin had a 6-3 field on the leg-side. He only had point, cover and slip”, he said.
“And so, the obvious option was giving yourself space and try and pick your runs through the covers. Just doing whatever it takes really to score through the off-side.”
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