A jack of all trades but master of none is still better than only a master of one. That is how the full idiom goes. But what about the master of one, who is also a jack of all other aspects?
That can be said of Ravi Ashwin. There is no doubt that he is an excellent master of spin, but he has shown excellent expertise in other parts of the field too. It is commonly known that he started as a batsman in the Tamil Nadu team, and his batting performances at the top international level have shown that it wasn’t a fluke. Having scored about 3,000 runs at an average of 26-odd, these numbers are valuable for someone who comes in at number eight or nine.
Another aspect of his career that highlights a high sense of productivity is his longevity. Availability is the best ability in sports, and Ravi has been available throughout his career for Team India. His career, spanning 2009 to the present in all aspects of the game shows this.
Since making his Test debut against the West Indies in 2011, Ravichandran Ashwin has made it a habit to pick up wickets, especially in dry and dusty conditions that favour turn. Ashwin first gained attention for his shrewd and street-smart exploits in the shorter form of the game in the Indian T20 League. He has established a reputation for himself in the shorter game formats, particularly in T20 cricket, where his accuracy and cunning have made him a reliable bowler. He has succeeded in more than filling Harbhajan Singh's shoes and has emerged as India's top bowler in the subcontinent.
Since the 2015–2017 season has been mostly focused at home, Ashwin has regularly done well, relying more on his cunning and deceit with his stock deliveries than overly experimenting. He had at last developed his confidence as a bowler enough to rely on his off-break and floater as his stock deliveries while seldom employing the carrom ball and other variations.
He displayed his development while playing for the Kookaburra in Sri Lanka, where he grabbed 21 wickets and contributed significantly to India's series victory—their first on the island since 1993. He proceeded to amass wickets in the next home season, stealing 31 in 4 home Tests against South Africa. The 2014–15 Border Gavaskar Trophy saw him play three Test matches as well. Despite not being able to charm the Kookaburra the way he did the SG in India, he displayed much greater control with it. He had tremendous home series against England, New Zealand, and the West Indies, taking an unprecedented 72 wickets in just 12 Tests.
He became only the second Indian, after Rahul Dravid, to win both the prestigious ICC Player of the Year and Test Player of the Year awards in the same year. Ashwin travelled to England to play for a county after being disqualified from the Indian T20 League. He excelled with the Dukes ball on the designated surfaces, racking up wickets as though he were bowling in Chennai.
More than that, Ashwin comes across as a thinker of the game. Notable batsman Marnus Labuschagne praised Ashwin’s thinking. “Ashwin’s record is so impressive is because he’s such a brilliant thinker when it comes to the game. As a result, he is always considering how he can get you out of the situation. In regards to what you are doing.
“So, what exactly is he trying to counteract this? Following that, he seems to say something like, “Ok, now I’m going to change so that you’re going to do this. That is one of the things that distinguishes him as exceptional. Now, it is not true of all bowlers,” Labuschagne was quoted as saying to Cricbuzz.
On top of that, Ashwin has also shown leadership qualities and captained in the Indian T20 League. He has been a part of an era for the Indian team that has had the most notable results and has played an integral part in many of them.
Ravi Ashwin needs to be remembered as a legend for India, and an overall great of the game.
Play fantasy cricket with SportsAdda. Create your team, track your progress and win prizes. Start here.
Follow us on Telegram for the latest updates from the world of sports!
Interested in cricket betting? Click here to check out the list of top sites.
Featured photo: Glyn KIRK / AFP