Dav Whatmore: Ashwin has the repertoire to trouble the best

"Batsmen fear facing R. Ashwin in the sub-continent because of his variety, the carrom ball among them. He has enough material to really worry the batsman." former Sri Lanka coach Dav Whatmore said.

"Like Murali, Ashwin is strong in mind, and like him, he creates pressure," Whatmore said about the Indian off spinner.   -  V. GANESAN

As coach, Dav Whatmore has worked closely with Sri Lankan legend Muttiah Muralitharan. And he is now seeing R. Ashwin slice through line-ups at home.

The former Australian batsman, here to start a new cricket coaching centre at the Sri Ramachandra University, shared his thoughts with The Hindu on the two destructive off-spinners and much more on Wednesday.

READ: >Whatmore to launch cricket academy in India

An accomplished coach, Whatmore noted, “Nobody feared facing an off-spinner. But Murali put fear in the minds of the batsmen with his prodigious turn, control and the ability to spin the ball both ways.”

He added, “Batsmen fear facing Ashwin too in the sub-continent because of his variety, the carrom ball among them. He has enough material to really worry the batsman.”

Murali’s brilliance

Whatmore observed, “Since Murali spun the ball so much, it was not easy to jump down to him. It was hard to play him off the back-foot too because the ball would come on to you quickly after pitching.”

“As a right hander you could not offer your pad because of the sharp turn in. Murali forced a batsman to play the ball, brought the bat-pad into play.”

“Murali deliberately had gaps on the off-side, the batsman would want to play the ball there for a single and get away from the strike but the delivery would sneak between the bat and the pad to hit the stumps. It was brilliant deception and bowling.”

The former Sri Lankan coach pointed out, “For most part of his career, Muralitharan did not play under DRS. He lost out on around 200 wickets.”

About Ashwin, Whatmore said, “Like Murali, he is strong in mind, and like him, he creates pressure. Ashwin uses the angles well and can set up a batsman. Murali’s record abroad is better, he has got a lot of wickets in England, but Ashwin can improve on this.”

Whatmore was happy with DRS but said the ‘Umpires Call’ must go. “If it hits any part of the stumps on replay, it should be out.”

High regard for Kohli but...

He thought highly of Virat Kohli’s batsmanship and captaincy. “Kohli hits the ball along the ground, has a huge appetite for runs, and the responsibility of being the captain only spurs him on. He has the backing of every player including Dhoni. That is what you want from a leader.”

Although, Whatmore was not willing to put Kohli ahead of Kane Williamson, Joe Root and Steven Smith as the best batsman in the world, he said, “Kohli is right up there with the best across formats. The way he has worked on his off-side game, thought to be weak earlier, to get his feet moving and getting the line of the bat right is admirable.”

On the forthcoming India-Australia Test series, Whatmore said, “It’s India, India, India. It is harder to play spin in India than in Australia. But if Warner gets going, it could get interesting.”