Former Test batsman VVS Laxman has reserved high praise for off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin rating him as a match-winner and one of the best spinners ever. Speaking about the idea of pink-ball cricket, Laxman said that few adjustments are needed to make the pink-ball successful on Indian pitches.
Whenever India plays a Test match at the Eden Gardens, every cricket fan is reminded of VVS Laxman for sure. His marathon innings of 281 in the 2001 Test at the venue against Australia is considered to be one of the finest innings in Test history. Ahead of the second Test match at Eden Gardens between India and New Zealand, the Hyderabadi heaped praise on off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who became the second-fastest Test bowler to reach 200 Test wickets during the first Test against New Zealand in Kanpur in his 37th game.
Asked where he would rate the off-spinner among the all-time greats, Laxman said, "One of the best, without a doubt. For me any great bowler or a great batsman or great cricketer is when you win matches for your team and Ashwin has just done that in the last four years.”
Laxman also said that Ashwin's match-winning ability is the main reason why he rates the 30-year old so highly.
"He has won a lot of matches (for India), some of them single-handedly. You have to always look to evolve, never stagnate as a player and always look to improve. That is another aspect of being a great player and that is what Ashwin has done from the first Test he has played. He is a thinking cricketer and a match-winner for me and I always respect match-winners," Laxman told NDTV in an interview.
Laxman has also hailed Indian skipper Virat Kohli as the most complete batsman in the modern game.
"The reason I mentioned a lot of Virat (Kohli) is because he knows his strengths and backs them. He is a conventional cricketer and has got strong basis," said Laxman.
"If you have to perform consistently in all the three formats, you should have strong basics, which Virat has. I feel Virat has a long way to go in Test match cricket and he will break all records. His average will be close to where his average currently is in ODIs and T20s. Virat is a complete batsman in this generation," he added.
Speaking about the use of pink balls in Indian cricket, Laxman said, "It's a work in progress, especially in India where dew is a big factor. Also the ball they used in the Duleep Trophy was a different one to what they used in the New Zealand-Australia Test match in Adelaide. It is more about not losing the hardness and the shine because in India the wickets will not have that much of grass cover, even though the grounds are lush green and well-maintained.
"A lot of effort and time will go in making sure that the ball is right because any match should not be dictated by ball. They are trying to make sure that the seam is thicker compared to the match played in Adelaide," he concluded.