New Delhi: One of the most successful captains the Australian cricket team and indeed the world cricket has ever seen, Steve Waugh dubbed ICC Test No. 1 bolwer Ravichandran Ashwin as 'Don Bradman of bowling' ahead of his side's 4-match Test series against India.
Sending a warning to the Aussies, who start their tour on February 23 in Pune, Waugh felt the Australian team would have to keep calm under pressure and find ways to deal with Ashwin’s bowling.
“Ashwin is basically the Bradman of bowling. What he is doing is quite incredible. I think he is the player we have to overcome. The Australians would have to look at ways to overcome Ashwin’s bowling. If Aussies can do that then we will have a chance. The guys need to stay calm under pressure,” said Waugh.
After dismissing Mushfiqur Rahim in India's one-off Test against Bangladesh, the Chennai-born off-spinner became the fastest bowler to scalp 250 Test wickets.
Historic 250th wicket at The uppal stadium Hyderabad.Thanks to all the wonderful ppl who came out to support us. pic.twitter.com/JXkiNl84Oq
— Ashwin Ravichandran (@ashwinravi99) February 13, 2017
Heaping praise on the Indian off-spinner, he further said said: “The way he is playing at the moment, he is going to break a number of records. Ashwin’s statistics are just mindboggling.” The 51-year-old legendary batsman said that it would be a difficult series for Australia as India are a very settled side and Virat Kohli’s captaincy is contagious.
“India are playing very well at the moment and are a very settled side. Everyone is very comfortable in their roles.
They are also playing a lot at home. It is very hard to beat them at home and that has been proved in the last couple of years,” said Waugh during an interaction before the start of the Laureus Worlds Sports Awards.
“Virat Kohli’s leadership is also very contagious. The Indian players feel positive and they feel they can do anything. It seems that the new Team India can achieve anything,” he added.
Waugh ridiculed Sourav Ganguly's 4-0 series win prediction for Indian, saying making such prediction would be completely “foolish”.
“Australia will provide a pretty good test to the formidable Indian side. There are players that India do not know much about and that would work to Aussies’ advantage. The first Test will be very important. If the Aussies can get off to a good start and do well in the opening Test match, you never know. Anything can happen.
“We have the potential to change our side after the first two Tests. If we do well in the first Test, we may spring a surprise. We might also be able to provide an upset,” insisted Waugh.
“The senior players need to do well and that is going to be a challenge in the opening Test. We have some match winners in our team. Sourav’s been a bit optimistic there.” Waugh said he could not understand why Australia’s recent performances in overseas series had been so dismal.
“I don’t know the reason. It is a global game. You have neutral umpires. There are no excuses not to play well away from home anymore. May be it is a mind thing. The very thought that you are playing away from home may be playing in their minds. Don’t know the reason why they have not been doing well overseas.
“We always used to enjoy playing overseas earlier as there is less pressure as you are away from the home crowd, family, friends and the media. And you can relax.”
(With PTI inputs)