While Rohit Sharma and Shami Ahmed may have taken the plaudits for the first Test victory against West Indies, R Ashwin can consider himself a crucial cog in the Indian wheel, with an all-round performance to be proud of. Ashwin scored a sensational first-innings century and took five wickets in the match as India hammered the visitors by an innings and 51 runs at Eden Gardens in Kolkata.
Gavaskar told NDTV after the match that the solid display from India's No. 8 shows skipper MS Dhoni can be flexible in his team composition. "That he is batting so well means that skipper MS Dhoni has the option of going in with six batsmen. He will be a good option after Sachin retires, especially in overseas conditions," said Gavaskar. "India can even play six batsmen and this will be a good option after Sachin, especially overseas where victories are really important
While Gavaskar said Ashwin's batting was solid after the spinner hit his second Test ton, the former cricketer however refused to support comparisons with VVS Laxman who has scored 8781 runs at an average of 49.57 . "Many of Ashwin's shots remind us of VVS Laxman but he still has a long way to improve. Laxman was a lot more compact," said Gavaskar. The very fact that he is being mentioned in the same breath as the Test legend is a tribute to Ashwin's ability with a bat in his fledgling career so far.
The original Little Master also praised Ashwin's improvement with the ball as compared to the recently-concluded seven-match ODI series against Australia. "He was clobbered in the ODI series, he was not bowling with rhythm. However he has bounced back well and experimented to perfection with the ball in Kolkata."
Former India top-order batsman Arun Lal added that Ashwin provides 'security' to the Indian batting line-up. "He makes me feel secure," said Lal. Ashwin now has an aura around him which will enable him to become an efficient all-rounder. After 17 Tests his number are even better than Ian Botham!"