“Keep Harassing…”: Ravi Shastri Tells R Ashwin But Anil Kumble ‘Perplexed’

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Rahul Dravid hopes that he doesn’t call it quits anytime soon. Ravi Shastri would like to see him harass batters for at least two more years while Anil Kumble finds it perplexing that he isn’t a regular in India’s overseas fixtures. If ever Ravichandran Ashwin needed validation for being a rare talent, three national coaches — one current and two former — provided it heartily on the same evening, at the same platform and almost at the same time.

“I hope he is not finished. He has moved the craft of spin bowling through his hard work, dedication and innovation. That’s a great legacy to have. Fantastic! Well done and inspired a whole generation of young spinners,” Dravid said during a felicitation function organised by the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) to celebrate Ashwin crossing the 500-wicket mark and completing 100 Tests.

“He always has the desire to contribute to the team’s success. Have really enjoyed my time with him,” ‘The Wall’ added.

What stands out for Dravid is Ashwin’s quest for excellence and being ever inquisitive about the game of glorious uncertainties, which he finds challenging as a coach.

“The good thing about him is that he challenges you, and as a coach, you want that. Looking forward to more such memories with him. He is one of a kind.”

Dravid’s immediate predecessor Shastri, in his inimitable baritone, urged Ashwin to continue playing with the minds of the batters for a few more years.

“Achievements of gigantic proportions. It’s no joke. Wish you the best. I believe you still have a lot of cricket left. Spinners mature with each passing age. Feel very proud. Well done, enjoy and keep harassing batsmen for at least a couple of years more,” said Shastri.

Kumble, whose 619 wickets remains the most telling benchmark in Indian Test history for bowlers, spoke about Ashwin’s heady contribution in India’s success during the last decade.

“In my book, he is one of the best to have represented the country. His numbers have been outstanding. He has an overwhelming co-relation with his and India’s success. He was never satisfied and always wanted more,” Kumble, who was present in person, said.

The former Indian skipper felt that had Ashwin not been overlooked during overseas Tests, he would have played 100 Tests much earlier.

“He should have played his 100th much earlier. However, he doesn’t always get picked while India travels overseas, which perplexes me.”

Kumble termed the 37-year-old a leader who didn’t need a designation to be heard in the Indian dressing room.

“Although he hasn’t been the official Indian captain, he has always been a leader in the dressing room. Wonderful to see him dedicate his 500th wicket to his proud father. He still has some international and IPL cricket left in him. Looking forward to see him perform more.” Ashwin’s long time spin bowling partner Ravindra Jadeja and skipper Rohit Sharma expected the champion bowler to create more memories.

“Your contribution to the Indian team has been priceless. Looking forward to more,” Jadeja said in a virtual message.

“We have played a lot of cricket together and with so many memories. The thing that stands out for you is how you have evolved. It’s been wonderful to play alongside you. Congrats to you and your family. Wish you the best for the future,” Rohit lavished praise on his lethal weapon.

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