Sunil Gavaskar has hailed Ravi Shastri for his role in Ravichandran Ashwin's evolution as a match-winner during his tenure as director of Team India. The batting great also praised Ashwin's ability to plot dismissals after the spinner took his 20th Test five-wicket haul on Monday.
Off-spinner Ashwin ended day 3 of the third and final Test against New Zealand in Indore with figures of 6/81, apart from effecting two run-outs, to almost single-handedly dismantle the Kiwi batting line-up and give India a first-innings lead of 258 runs.
While Ashwin has been unstoppable over the past few months, Gavaskar said the Tamil Nadu bowler’s meteoric rise began under former Team Director Shastri two years ago.
“The change in Ashwin's bowling was first seen during India's 2014-15 tour of Australia. He benefited a great deal from Ravi Shastri being the team director," Gavaskar told NDTV.
Gavaskar also pointed that Ashwin had imbibed the bowling pattern of Aussie offie Nathan Lyon from that tour. “Before the Australian tour, Ashwin usually bowled on middle and leg. But looking at Nathan Lyon, he began bowling outside the off-stump,” the former India skipper said.
The Little Master also spoke of the other facets of the spinner's bowling that have added to his success.
“Ashwin has exhibited great patience during his spells. He is now planning dismissals of batsmen. Also, he has a good supporting cast that does not leak runs and mounts pressure on the opposition,” he stated.