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Will Rohit allow Ashwin this grand gesture in his 100th Test?

February 25, 2024 18:50 IST

Gavaskar wants Ashwin to lead team out on field in Dharamsala in his 100th Test.

Ravichandran Ashwin picked 5 for 51 on Day 3 of the 4th Test in Ranchi, on Sunday

IMAGE: Ravichandran Ashwin picked 5 for 51 on Day 3 of the 4th Test in Ranchi, on Sunday. Photograph: BCCI

Legendary batter Sunil Gavaskar on Sunday suggested that India captain Rohit Sharma should allow Ravichandran Ashwin to lead the team out on the field in the final Test in Dharamsala, to honour the senior off-spinner in his milestone 100th match.

The 37-year-old Ashwin is playing in his 99th Test in the fourth match here against England and returned with figures of 5/51 in the visitors' second innings, his 35th five-wicket haul in the longest format.


"India win tomorrow, and you go to Dharamsala (for fifth and final Test), I just hope that Rohit allows you to lead the team out to the field. That'll be a wonderful gesture, honour for all that you have done for Indian cricket," Gavaskar said while speaking to Ashwin on Jio Cinema after the end of the third day's play.

To that, Ashwin replied he would be happy if his presence in the team lasts longer.

"Sunny bhai, you are being too generous, thanks so much. However, expectations about all these things, I think I am well past all that. But genuinely saying, I am enjoying every single moment I am being with this team," Ashwin said.

"The longer it lasts, I will be happy."

Gavaskar's co-commentator and former India all-rounder Ravi Shastri also said it would be a perfect way for Ashwin to go to the Dharamsala Test after helping the team win with a five-for in his 99th Test.

"Yes. But you can pick all the wickets you want, you performed the way you want but it's nothing without the team winning. It (team win) is the best thing which can happen to a cricketer.

"Win a Test after four-five days, the feeling is surreal. I would like to have that feeling tomorrow. Rohit (Sharma) and (Yashasvi) Jaiswal started very well and hopefully they can carry on that tomorrow," said Ashwin who reached the milestone of taking 500 wickets in the Rajkot Test.

 India's Ravichandran Ashwin celebrates with teammates after taking a return catch to dismiss England's Ben Foakes 

IMAGE: India's Ravichandran Ashwin celebrates with teammates after taking a return catch to dismiss England's Ben Foakes. Photograph: Amit Dave/Reuters

Asked about his famous carrom ball, Ashwin said, "My knee has been acting out, but I had a bit of warm-up, I didn't want to give runs as we're batting last, any runs saved is a bonus.

"When we were asked as to who wanted to start, I put my hand up. I do enjoy bowling with the new ball. I had to go back, rewire the way I think about the game.

"The way I drop the ball on the pitch, I came to know that it doesn't have the bite, it was hitting the shin off the pitch. So, I had to go back and mentally readjust, had to fire the ball quicker."

Ashwin was also all praise for wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav, who returned with fine figures of 4/22 with crucial wickets of Zak Crawley and Ben Stokes.

"I loved the way Kuldeep bowled today, he was brilliant, the way he changed the trajectory, change of pace, the dip he got -- I think he's double the bowler now. I took away a 5-wicket haul from him.

"It was hard on him yesterday, we sent him to bat early, but he showed a lot of technique and guile, we batted almost the entire first session. We would have taken a deficit of 70-80 runs when we went back to the hotel yesterday, we would have taken it."

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