According to former India head coach Ravi Shastri, Ravichandran Ashwin and his spin twin Ravindra Jadeja should be “right up there” among India’s all-time greats. With a whopping 462 wickets between them in the 45 Tests they have played together, Ashwin and Jadeja have established themselves as one of the most lethal partnerships in international cricket. India established a 2-0 lead in the four-match series as the pair picked up 16 wickets in the Delhi Test to go along with their 15 from the Nagpur Test.
Ashwin, who has so far taken 463 Test wickets in his illustrious 12-year international career, on Wednesday replaced England’s James Anderson as the No. 1 bowler in the ICC Test rankings. “I never compare eras, but the record that he (Ashwin) has – especially in Indian conditions – would make him a favorite to get into that (all-time XI) squad,” Shastri told The ICC Review.
“In Indian conditions, he’s something else. I mean, you’ve seen some great spinners in the past. He’s right up there. And the fact that he can get you runs at crucial stages makes all the difference.” The 60-year-old Shastri, who coached India till the 2021 T20 World Cup, is also impressed with Jadeja’s outstanding run in the last 18 months and feels the left-arm spin allrounder can join Ashwin in India’s all-time XI.
“He (Jadeja) will start to get the credit (he deserves) now. There’s no question about it. The last year, year-and-a-half, he’s been simply outstanding because he’s realized his potential,” Shastri said. In the second innings of the Delhi Test, Jadeja recorded his best bowling figures of the season, seven for 42, to finish with a final total of 10 for 110. In 62 Test matches, he has taken more than 250 wickets and this was his second 10-wicket haul. Two of his three Test hundreds have come in the past 12 months, and he has amassed 2619 runs overall.
“He gives you nothing and it’s a nightmare (for opposition batters). Especially, if you’re not in good form, and you are in the opposition as a batsman, you’ll have nightmares. You’ll have Jadeja in your dreams because the guy gives you nothing. If it’s a track where the ball is up and down, he can be even more dangerous than Ashwin. Ashwin anyway has the guy (with his) skill. But here, this guy (Jadeja) can have you on edge because one ball will skip through, one ball will turn, and he gives you nothing.
“His accuracy is so good that there are hardly any loose balls on offer.” Shastri also remembered a time during his coaching tenure with India when Jadeja has promoted up the order, something which he believes proved to be a turning point for the all-rounder. “People, and he himself, didn’t actually realize how good a player he was until he actually got a couple of big scores in Test matches,” Shastri said.
Shastri recollected how during his time, he had encouraged Jadeja to bat up the order in Test cricket. “I remember we pushed him up the order as well to give him that responsibility and he has not looked back. When you see his technique, he plays the ball late, he plays in straight lines and he is just a fabulous cricketer.”