ANI Photo | “The engineer of spin bowling”: Former England spinner Monty Panesar hails Ashwin ahead of his 100th Test

Coming out in glowing praise of a member of his tribe and a modern-day exponent of spin, former England left-armer Monty Panesar labelled Ravichandran Ashwin the “engineer of spin bowling”.
The fifth and final Test against England at the picturesque HPCA stadium in Himachal’s Dharamshala will mark Ashwin’s 100th in the red-ball format. The match will see India’s spinning ace crossing another major career milestone after picking up his 500th wicket in the third Test at Rajkot.
In a career spanning more than a decade, the 37-year-old tweaker has bagged 507 wickets across 99 Tests at a staggering average of 23.9 and an economy of 2.79.
Currently ranked globally as the ninth-highest wicket-taker in Tests and the second-highest in India after the legendary Anil Kumble, Ashwin brings his bag of tricks to the team, tying Opposition batsmen in knots.
His unique carrom ball, which he delivers with a flick of his fingers from a front-on action, is a weapon in his bowling armoury that has made some of the world’s best batters, including former England captain Alistair Cook and retired South African stalwart Hashim Amla, look clueless on the crease.
His myriad other variations, including the slider, arm ball, and topspin, among others, delivered with slight alterations of his wrist position, have kept batsmen guessing through the years. These variations have made the wily operator a prolific wicket-taker across formats, especially Tests, over the years.
Speaking to ANI over the phone on Tuesday, Panesar paid the ultimate tribute to Ashwin for the efforts he has undertaken to add to his repertoire and reinvent himself in the game.
“Ashwin has been absolutely brilliant. The first I came across him was during a Test series in India (2012). Role-wise, he has been there working out angles and engineering his way to dismissals. I think he is brilliant at how he changed the revolutions on the ball and enriched the art of spin bowling. It is all about angles, mathematics and data. So, I think he is the engineer of spin bowling,” Panesar told ANI.
Since making his debut against England in 2012, Ashwin has enjoyed massive success while delivering many wins to his country.
In 21 Tests against England, he has claimed 105 wickets at an average of 28.88, with 12/167 being his best effort to date.
In the ongoing five-match series, the veteran spinner has claimed 17 wickets in four matches at an average of 30.41.
He will look to add more to his tally and go past lanky English spinner Tom Hartley, who has 20 wickets to his name in the series.
India currently hold an unassailable 3-1 lead in the series following their five-wicket win in the Ranchi Test and will go into Dharamshala eyeing a 4-1 score line. (ANI)

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