Ravi Shastri rates India’s current crop of spinners among best ever

The ICC Review

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Former coach Ravi Shastri believes veteran spinner Ravichandran Ashwin easily fits in India's best XI of all-time and that fellow tweaker Ravindra Jadeja is on track to stake a similar claim.

Ashwin has already claimed 463 Test wickets during his illustrious 12-year international career and Shastri has no doubt the right-armer belongs in the top echelon of the best India spinners of all-time.

Shastri was speaking with Sanjana Ganesan on the most recent episode of The ICC Review and the former great was full of praise for India's current front-line spinners.

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India's front-line spinners rated among best ever on The ICC Review
Ravi Shastri joins Sanjana Ganesan on The ICC Review and reveals how highly he rates Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja among India's best ever spinners

"I never compare eras, but the record that he (Ashwin) has - especially in Indian conditions - would make him a favourite to get into that (all-time XI) squad," Shastri said.

"In Indian conditions he’s something else. I mean, you've seen some great spinners in the past. He's right up there. And the fact that he can get you runs at crucial stages makes all the difference.”

Shastri also believes Jadeja could join Ashwin in the conversation for a place in India's all-time XI if the 34-year-old can continue his recent good form with both bat and ball.

Jadeja picked up the best bowling figures of his career (7/42) in the second innings of the recent second Test against Australia, and two of his three Test centuries have come over the last 12 months.

"He (Jadeja) will start to get the credit (he deserves) now. There's no question about it,” Shastri declared.

“The last year, year-and-a-half, he's been simply outstanding because he's realised his potential. 

“He gives you nothing and it's a nightmare (for opposition batters). Especially if you're not in good form, and you are in the opposition as a batsman, you'll have nightmares. You'll have Jadeja in your dreams because the guy gives you nothing. 

"If it’s a track where the ball is up and down, he can be even more dangerous than Ashwin. Ashwin anyway has the guy (with his) skill. But here, this guy (Jadeja) can have you on edge because one ball will skip through, one ball will turn, and he gives you nothing. 

“His accuracy is so good that there are hardly any loose balls on offer.”

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Shastri pointed to a period during his coaching tenure with India as the turning point in Jadeja's career.

The left-hander was promoted up the batting order at the time and allowed more freedom to bat with his natural flair.

"People, and he himself, didn't actually realise how good a player he was until he actually got a couple of big scores in Test matches,” Shastri said.

“I remember we pushed him up the order as well to give him that responsibility and he has not looked back. 

“When you see his technique, he plays the ball late, he plays in straight lines and he is just a fabulous cricketer.”

Australia’s stand-in skipper Steve Smith knows all too well the damage India’s spinning strike force can cause, especially after Ashwin and Jadeja claimed all 10 wickets in the second innings in Delhi.

The visitors lost their last eight wickets for 28 runs in that innings on the way to a six-wicket loss, but Smith signalled Australia would take a fresh approach to counter the spin duo in the third Test.

"They know when they’re on top of you, they'll try and rush you and they’ll try and play on their terms,” Smith told reporters. 

“When we're under pressure it's about just slowing it down as much as we can, making them wait a little bit, walk away and regain your thoughts rather than just coming back and back. 

“It will be different for everyone, the way they handle those moments, but I think it's finding that in our game and hopefully that applies a bit more pressure back onto them."


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