'He has been a fantastic cricketer' - Sunil Gavaskar lauds R Ashwin after terrific Dhaka heist
Sunil Gavaskar was all praise for how R Ashwin and Shreyas Iyer held their nerves to pull off a memorable resurrection act and clinch a thrilling Test win for India in Mirpur against Bangladesh. The legendary former India skipper especially savoured the zeal and the temperament on display by Ashwin in his secondary skill.
Ashwin top-scored for India with a skilful knock of 42 on a dusty, spiteful turner in a chase of 145 after the tourists found themselves reeling at 74/7 versus the hosts' spin troika. Iyer produced an equally impressive 29* at the other end, and eased Ashwin's life by going after premier left-arm spinner Shakib Al Hasan.
But the batting ability on show from Ashwin, India's great off-spinner, once again got Gavaskar amused as he reminded why the Tamil Nadu gem has five Test hundreds up his sleeves and averages above 27 in the format, besides taking 449 wickets at 24.30.
In what is a remarkable body of work, R Ashwin continues to serve Indian cricket strongly, with consistent match-winning performances with the bat and the ball - something Gavaskar took note of during an interaction with Sony Sports Network.
Gavaskar lauds Ashwin
"They both look utterly calm there," said Gavaskar. "The tension must have been unbelievable out there. But somebody like Ashwin; he has been a fantastic cricketer. People only talk about his bowling but he has got five hundreds and he showed how he got those. Terrific innings from him and a great partnership with Shreyas Iyer."
"They took their scoring opportunities. They were not afraid of playing their shots, with Iyer in particular. That lofted shot over extra cover was brilliantly executed, forcing the bowler to bowl a little bit short," the legend added.
The Test match in Dhaka wasn't the best of R Ashwin with the ball in hand. Although the cricketer picked up 6 wickets, a feat which alongside his series-clinching final-innings 42* earned him the 'Player-of-the-Match', he would know he couldn't execute his plans to perfection all the time, not getting it to dip on the batters like his usual self.
That would be an area for the great bowler to address come the Border-Gavaskar Trophy against Australia, as India aim to beat the longstanding arch-rivals 3-0 or better to cement a spot in the World Test Championship (WTC) final at The Oval next summer.