'That's why I think he is reinventing himself': Laxman praises R Ashwin, says the spinner plans his dismissal
R Ashwin has been in spectacular form in the last 3 months as he turned in match-winning performances one after another. After getting the better of Steve Smith in Australia, Ashwin spun a web around the English batsmen. Along with Axar Patel, the 34-year-old off-spinner picked up the bulk of the wickets as India finally qualified for the World Test Championship final.
Ashwin was named the man of the series after the contest ended with India beating England in three days to win the four-match series 2-1. He picked up 32 wickets in eight innings and helped India reach the WTC final against England.
Former India batsman VVS Laxman is also full praise for Ashwin, as he insisted that preparation is key to the veteran off-spinner's success. Laxman also said that Ashwin is a thinking cricketer, who is constantly reinventing himself.
Ashwin recently became the fourth Indian bowler to take 400 Test wickets, when he achieved the feat by dismissing Jofra Archer in the pink ball Test at Ahmedabad, which the hosts won by 10 wickets under two days.
Ashwin, 34, also became the second-fastest bowler to reach the landmark after Sri Lanka spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan.
"I think he's (Ashwin) a very intelligent person. When you're playing at the highest level, then it's not only about your skill, it's about your preparation, your planning and execution is so critical.
"So, he works out what are the weaknesses of the batsman. He plans those dismissals and that's why I think he is reinventing himself," Laxman, a veteran of 134 Tests, said on Star Sports show 'Cricket Connected'.
To prove his point, Laxman cited the example of Steve Smith's trouble against Ashwin during India's recent tour Down Under.
"We saw recently in the Australia series how he (Ashwin) troubled someone as great as Steve Smith and that's another thing that makes Ashwin or any champion player special, that he wants to be the best and compete against the best," he said.
Former India opener Aakash Chopra too lavished praise on Ashwin, saying he is one of the biggest match-winners the country has ever produced.
"78 Test matches for 400 Test wickets. Let the naysayers be! He's been absolutely phenomenal with the craft that he has displayed over a period of time and as he's growing as a bowler, he's picking a lot of wickets. So, that question mark is also getting answered quite nicely," said Chopra.
"I feel that he's an absolute rockstar. He's one of the biggest match-winners that India has ever produced, of course Anil Kumble will still remain at No.1," added 43-year-old, who has played 10 Tests for the country.
(with PTI inputs)