One of cricket’s renowned coaches, Dav Whatmore reckons Australia will have their task cut out in the upcoming tour of India and termed R Ashwin an important asset for the hosts.
The 62-year-old Whatmore, who guided Sri Lanka to their only World Cup triumph in 1996, has been appointed director of ‘International Cricket Academy of Excellence’ set up by Sriramachandra Arthroscopy and Sports Sciences, Chennai.
“Certainly it’s a huge test coming to India, particularly in recent times when the hosts have got incredible levels of skill and self belief. You got a wonderful Test match team. A new captain as well and everybody is supporting each other. Australia have their work cut out,” Whatmore told reporters here.
About Ashwin, he said, “He is one of the most valuable players in the world. Not just with the ball but he can make a 100 at no. 6. He is a very smart boy. What an asset to have. Virat Kohli must be really happy to have him. (Muttiah) Muralitharan was absolutely world class (but) he didn’t bat as well as Ashwin can do.”
Whatmore, who had also coached Pakistan, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh, said he doesn’t give much importance to Australia picking four spinners rather than packing it with fast bowlers.
“Not really because when you know even Shane Warne may not have got the number of wickets people expected; that’s a difficult area to measure when you have a leg-spinner in the team the confidence that it gives to everybody else they begin to measure that but it does make the difference when you have good experienced players.
“They don’t have (Glenn) McGrath or Warne, who have 1000 wickets between them, now. And they now come to India. (Their) Batsmen play spin well in Australia. But playing spin here is kettle of fish,” Whatmore said.
Whatmore also spoke about the progress fast bowling has made in India in recent years.
“(Indian) Fast bowlers (earlier) would get the ball dirty and give it to the spinners. Now there are some really good pace bowlers and swing bowlers, especially Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and others.
“I know that there has been a real effort to support pace bowling over the years,” he said.