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Mohammad Kaif backs R Ashwin to be a key player for India ahead of Test Series

By Bet Barter

December 17, 2020

Former Indian cricketer Mohammad Kaif feels that R Ashwin might be a key player for India against Australia in the Border-Gavaskar trophy. Even though the pace bowlers might get assistance with the pink ball, Kaif felt that Ashwin will be crucial with the harder ball at the time of day. The 1st test match is underway today. Before the test match, there was speculation that India would play 4 seam bowlers in the 1st Test against Australia. However, BCCI announced the starting XI yesterday which included Ashwin in addition to 3 pace bowlers. Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, and Umesh Yadav will bowl alongside Ashwin in the 1st Test Match against the Aussies.

R Ashwin has a stellar Test record. In 71 matches, Ashwin bagged a total of 365 wickets for India. Ashwin also boasts a stellar bowling average of 25.43. To top it off, Ashwin has an impressive 27 five-wicket hauls and 7 ten-wicket hauls in Test Cricket. Ashwin last played Australia in the 1st Test of the 2018-19 Border-Gavaskar trophy. In 2 innings, Ashwin picked up a total of 6 wickets. It should also be noted that 5 of his 6 wickets were batsmen from the op batting order.

Pink-ball encounter will be a real test for Ashwin: Mohammad Kaif

In total, 14 pink-ball matches have been played so far. Stats say that the pink ball has favored the pace bowlers more than it has favored the spinners. Seam bowlers, in total, have picked 332 wickets with an average bowling economy of 24.86. On the other hand, spinners bagged only 109 wickets with an average bowling economy of 36.02.

Moreover, Ashwin’s figures against Australia are certainly not the best. Ashwin has a dismal bowling average of 48.07 against the "Men in Yellow". When compared to his overall bowling average, it becomes quite evident why. Moreover, in 7 Tests against the Aussies, Ashwin has only picked up 27 wickets. By his standards, this is not impressive at all.

Ashwin has been backed by the team management ahead of spinner Kuldeep Yadav. This is Ashwin’s opportunity to shine and prove his worth to the Indian Test side.

The Day-Night Test will be a huge challenger for the off-spinner. Moreover, India is playing only 4 bowlers in total. Hence, a lot will depend on Ashwin, as his bowling might also decide the outcome of this Test series.

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