With 500 Test wickets in his sight, the veteran Indian spinner, R Ashwin is one wicket away from becoming only the second Indian cricketer to surpass the tally of 450 wickets after the legendary Anil Kumble, the off-spinner will be one of the biggest threats for any side touring India. In subcontinent conditions, he is one of the biggest match-winners in the last decade. His variations, his experience, and his guile make him a deadly proposition but facing him becomes even more challenging for a left-handed batter.
As expected, Australia batter Matt Renshaw termed Ashwin as one of the biggest challenges for him and in their batting unit which has a number of southpaws in David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Travis Head, and himself in the upcoming Border-Gavaskar Trophy starting February 9.
During a chat with Australian Associated Press on Wednesday, Matt Renshaw said, “Ashwin is difficult to face. He is a smart bowler with a lot of variations and he uses them very well, but you do get used to him once you’ve faced him for a while. I think the big challenge from Ashwin and any off-spinner in spinning conditions to a left-hander is the lbw threat.”
He further added, “Obviously everyone thinks about the one that turns and gets you caught at slip, but the big one is the lbw when it doesn’t spin. You just have to be ready for that one. I think two years batting at No.5 helped me with facing spin. I know my game a lot better now and I am a lot more comfortable in different situations.”
Matt Renshaw visited India during the 2017 tour as well as an opener. Ashwin dismissed him once, in the opening Test at Pune, but not before Renshaw had scored a half-century. The Australian, who would most likely come in at No.5 if given an opportunity in the XI on the upcoming tour, however, was confident his team would be strong challengers.
Explaining the same, Matt Renshaw said, “We have a strong squad and it is going to be hard to push my way in, but I know that I will be ready if I do get a chance.”
Renshaw plays the Big Bash League (BBL) for Brisbane Heat and the franchise has the likes of leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson, Matthew Kuhnemann, and Marnus Labuschagne, and the southpaw said he is preparing for the India series with SG balls.
Explaining the same, Matt Renshaw said, “The SG ball is a bit different, so we are just trying to prepare as well as we can during this BBL schedule if we get a window to hit red balls. It is a lot of different conditions in India, so we are trying to replicate them as much as we can. The plan was if (the Heat) got knocked out we’d do some prep with the (Australian) team in Sydney, but we just kept winning and are in the (BBL) finals now.”