By: Sports Desk |

Published: April 26, 2020 6:12:29 pm

Ravichandran Ashwin has not played in shorter formats for India since 2017. (File Photo/Reuters)

Ravichandran Ashwin, who has not played in ODIs and T20Is since 2017, remains the best spinner India have and no one who has come after him has been able to match his class, said Pakistan spin legend Saqlain Mushtaq. Mushtaq said Ashwin’s exclusion from the shorter formats baffles him, explaining that a wicket-taking bowler like him is priceless in these matches.

“Class is permanent whether you are a finger-spinner or wrist-spinner. I was surprised when Ashwin was sidelined from one-day cricket. He knows how to get batsman out in the five-day game, which is much tougher than limited overs cricket. Anyone can do the containment job but someone who knows how take wickets can contain also. He knows both. How can you keep him out? You have to back your best players,” Saqlain, the inventor of the Doosra’, told PTI.

Though Ashwin remains India’s number one Test spinner at home, he is not a sure starter in overseas Tests either these days. He was benched for the two-Test series in the West Indies last year, and played one Test in New Zealand in the two-match series, with Ravindra Jadeja playing the other one.

Saqlain said Kuldeep Yadav is “impressive” among the newer Indian spinners but that no one has been of the same class as Ashwin.

“After Ashwin, you have tried many spinners but none of them have been of his class,” he said.

Saqlain also said that Harbhajan Singh and Ravichandran Ashwin could have been a great spin bowling combination if India had not sidelined Harbhajan with Ashwin’s emergence.

He also said India have a stronger spin bowling armoury than Pakistan at present, saying he is sure both Ashwin and Jadeja will play 100 Tests in their career.

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