South Africa Test captain Dean Elgar lauded Ravichandran Ashwin’s ability and termed him as one of the best off-spinners India have ever produced. The 35-year-old has been a mainstay in the Indian Test side and has rested his case for overseas tours as well.
The inclusion of Ashwin in the playing XI is a near certainty due to the injuries sustained to Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel. The off-spinner will don the role of the primary spinner and with India tending to field only one spinner in overseas conditions, Jayant Yadav will serve as the back-up option for the role.
While Elgar lauded Ashwin’s ability, he brought up the player’s record in South Africa, which has been far from best. he has played 3 Tests in the Rainbow Nation and has the poorest average among all the countries he has played in. Speaking during a press conference ahead of the first Test, Elgar said:
“India is a good side, they tick all the boxes. Ashwin is a quality bowler, probably one of the best off-spinners India have ever produced. We will be mindful of that, it will be a challenge to compete against them,”
“I do not think Ravichandran Ashwin has had much success in South Africa which is okay for us. You cannot really compare to the success he has had against our batters in India because conditions are so different. We have to focus on our gameplan, each player has been working on his individual gameplan. It is important not to focus on just one player in their lineup,”
Elgar went on to acknowledge the prowess of the Indian bowling unit, but at the same time added that the Indian batters won’t have an easy time against their pace bowling. Fast bowling has largely been the reason behind India’s recent overseas success. Jasprit Bumrah, who made his debut in South Africa along with Mohammad Shai, Mohammad Siraj, Ishant Sharma and Shardul Thakur will be a handful for the Proteas.
The hosts have lost the services of Anrcih Nortje for the series due to injury, but they still have a formidable pace bowling set up led by Kagiso Rabada. Elgar added:
“India has an immensely improved bowling lineup. As I mentioned earlier, we will be mindful of the fact that we will be up against a very good bowling attack. Being in South Africa, we will feel a lot more accustomed to our own conditions. Hopefully, we can use that to our advantage. We know it will be tough but it will be tough for the India batters to face our attack as well.”
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