Ravichandran Ashwin is likely to play the first Test at Mohali 

Indian spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who has been undergoing rehab for side strain, is likely to be fit for the first Test South Africa scheduled to start on November 5 at Mohali.

“I’m close to achieving full fitness and I’m feeling fine. I’m confident of bowling well in the series,” Ashwin said on the sidelines of a promotional event on Tuesday.

The off-spinner had suffered a side strain during the first ODI in Kanpur subsequently ruled out from the entire ODI series. Being India’s No. 1 bowler in recent past, India badly missed Ashwin’s service as the host lost the series 2-3.

The defeat in the ODI series put India on the back foot ahead of Test series. Ashwin admitted that the loss was an unfortunate one, but he is keen on looking towards the future.

“It is not that we played poorly. We fought our way back into the ODI series brilliantly after we found ourselves trailing 1-2. We levelled the series 2-2 here and it was up to the last match in Mumbai where anything could have happened. Unfortunately, things didn’t go our way and we lost,” he said.

The CSK spinner feels the upcoming Test series would be anything but a one-sided affair.

“It will be a close contest. South Africa are an excellent side and they have adapted to the conditions very well. It will be a tough challenge and we will be up for it,” said Ashwin.

However, he believes the wicket will assist the batsmen. “I am not taking away any credit from the batsmen. But I believe they have been scoring runs on wickets that have aided batting. Bowlers need to be given wickets that are helpful to them. I want to see batsmen scoring runs on wickets that aid bowlers,” the 29-year-old said.

Indian bowlers were proved toothless in the Mumbai ODI while the key batsmen failed to perform throughout ODI series. Ashwin feels players need more time to settle down.

“There are no weaknesses in the Indian side. We are a young side which is gaining experience. There are only a few players who have played over 100 ODIs, and so this team needs to be given more time. If you look at the South African side, players like Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers were given a lot of time to settle down.

“I guess Indian players too need a similar cushion. Before the series began, everyone knew it would be hard-fought and it did live up to its billing,” Ashwin pointed out.

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    Sports Crazy man, Live in cricket, Love writing, Studied English journalism in Indian Institute of Mass Communication, Chose sports as the subject for study, Born 24 years ago during the 1992 Cricket world cup. When he is not writing love to watch movies and reading books and novels.

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