'No shame in being beaten by Ashwin': Mike Atherton says India spinner has attributes that have 'rarely been matched'
- India vs England: Ashwin has proven he's a beast on home soil, which is why Atherton reckons there is absolutely nothing surprising seeing him thrive.
England have failed to get on top of R Ashwin and his bag of tricks and while him picking wickets has been unfairly related to the pitches India play their matches on, former England captain Michael Atherton has credited the off-spinner for his stupendous show in the three Tests against England.
Ashwin has already picked up 24 wickets with two five-wicket hauls – 6/61 and 5/43. Besides, he's had figures of 3/53, 3/26 and 4/48 making him one of England's biggest threats. Having become the second-fastest bowler to 400 Test wickets, behind Muttiah Muralitharan, Ashwin has proven he's a beast, at least in home conditions, which is why Atherton reckons there is absolutely nothing surprising seeing him thrive.
"It is no shame in being beaten by Ashwin in these conditions. The off-spinner is one of the greatest to have played the game, with a breadth of variations that has rarely been matched. His ability to bowl a straight ball in extreme spinning conditions makes him stand out," Atherton wrote in his column for The Times.
While almost all England batsman have failed to read Ashwin, barring Joe Root in the first Test, the one who has struggled the most is young Ollie Pope. Pope has been dismissed thrice by Ashwin in the series, all three times bowled. Low scores in the last two Tests have out the pressure back on the 23-year-old but Atherton sees plenty of scope for Pope to thrive and has hopes England continue to back the youngster.
"The first thing is that Pope must play the next match. He should play here, and take his chances, and, whatever transpires, England should keep faith with him at the start of the summer against New Zealand," Atherton added.
"Some have said that Pope should give way for his own good, citing Root's own dropping at the end of the Ashes series in 2013-14, and the way he immediately bounced back thereafter, using his demotion as motivation."