Ravichandran Ashwin is certainly one of the best spinners in the modern era, and his stats speak for himself. The off-spinner has 377 wickets in just 74 matches, and yet he is compared to Nathan Lyon who has 399 scalps in 100 matches. This constant comparing doesn’t bother him now, but there was a time in his career when it did.
Ravichandran Ashwin picked 12 wickets in 3 Tests averaging 28.83 while Nathan Lyon picked only 9 wickets in 4 Tests averaging 55.11 as the Indian batsmen came up with plans to combat him. Ravichandran Ashwin didn’t play 4th and final Test for sore back problems.
Ravichandran Ashwin: Competitions Have Got The Best Out Of Me
One aspect of Team India’s success Down Under in the ongoing series has been the way they have been able to play Australian spinner, Nathan Lyon.
Speaking to the New Indian Express, he said, “I don’t know if it’s justified. Everybody walks their journey and it’s mine. My belief is that there will always be someone who will be competing with you. That’s life. I accepted this at a young age.
“For me, the competitions have got the best out of me. I have no complaints. I feel whatever I have left ahead of me will also be on the same lines. So I have decided to play every Test like my first. If I can’t be excellent, I should just hang my head down and move on. That’s the way I played my cricket, it won’t be any different in future.”
He went on to say, “There has been a lot of noise about how I am bowling and pitting me against someone like Nathan Lyon. During the previous tour in Adelaide, I picked up six wickets and kept on bowling despite a tear in the abdomen. After the match, there was a comparison between us with suggestions of how well Lyon bowled.
“I felt it was extremely insensitive towards a good performance. That was the lowest I ever felt in my life after Southampton (2018). I feel I have been constantly put under the microscope. I did take it upon myself personally. So rather than me competing against Lyon, I thought I must be competing against Smith.”
Nathan Lyon, along with India’s Jasprit Bumrah, was the joint-highest wicket-taker in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy series in 2018-19 with 21 dismissals. This time around, Indian batsmen have been successful in neutralizing his spin, as the bowler has only taken 9 wickets playing all 4 Tests.
Ravichandran Ashwin Decided To Compete With Steve Smith And He Is Entitled To Think He Is The Best In The World
Steve Smith amassed 313 runs in 4 Tests averaging 44.71 after failure in first 2 Tests. He hit a ton in 3rd Test which was drawn. He scored 131 and 81 in Sydney for which he was awarded Man of Match.
“Lyon is a lovely bowler and I have respect for him. But my focus was on something else. There were records that Smith had never got out to spinners in Australia. I wanted to turn that around. I am entitled to think I am probably the best in the world.
“I wanted to think on those lines. I thought ‘who is the best in the series?’ I can’t compete with Virat Kohli so I decided to compete against Smith. A lot of people were talking about who will dismiss Smith. But, nobody even gave me a chance. Then, I made sure that people spoke about me at the end of the series.”
Ravichandran Ashwin picked Steve Smith thrice in first 3 Tests which he played. Ravichandran Ashwin have dismissed him 6 times in 23 innings- the 3rd most after Stuart Broad of England (8) and Yasir Shah of Pakistan (7).