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Dav Whatmore rates Ravi Ashwin over Muralitharan for his ability with the bat

Dav Whatmore
Dav Whatmore. (Photo by INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP/Getty Images)

When a tough test waits ahead in time one and all who knows little or lot about it do crop up with their advice, tweak and trick that can help them do better. Similar is the case with the Australian Test team, they are all set to tour India in less than a month’s time and among those giving them advice is former Australian cricketer Dav Whatmore.

The Sri Lankan coach who led them to their only World Cup championship 21 years ago was recently appointed the director of the International Cricket Academy of Excellence at the Sriramachandra Arthroscopy and Sports Sciences in Chennai.

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Watmore believes at this point the Aussies have a terrific T20 team but the hosts have an incredible Test team and the visitors will find it really difficult. “For a start Australia have their best T20 team. Certainly, it’s a huge test coming to India, particularly in the recent times when you 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,” he said in an interaction with the reporters.

Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has been at his absolute prime with the ball and his performances have reflected with the bat as well. Talking about Ashwin the former Aussie cricketer 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. Comes from Tamil Nadu and is an engineer. 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 could do.”

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The Australian selectors opted to pick four frontline spinners along with part-timer Glenn Maxwell for the tour against their conventional approach of fielding their strength. “Not really because when you know even Shane Warne may not have got the number of wickets people expect; 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. Batsmen play spin well in Australia. But playing spin here is a totally different kettle of fish,” Whatmore said.

India has seen a crop of young fast bowlers who can swing the ball and bowl at a decent pace as well. “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 is real effort to support pace bowling over the years and now we have got neutral venues as well in first class cricket. So you can’t be making special surfaces for your team and that has its advantages too,” he said.

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