R Ashwin is the best off-spinner in Test cricket: Graeme Swann

Even though Swann finished with 255 wickets in 60 Tests, he wasn’t known to bowl the doosra, a delivery that many felt couldn’t be bowled without bending the arm

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Siddharth Raghvendra Raghuvanshi
Siddharth Raghvendra Raghuvanshi
Editorial Assistant of Sirf News with experience in covering sports and entertainment for Navbharat Times and Network 18's IBN Lokmat

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New Delhi: Graeme Swann was a late entrant into Test cricket, but in the 60 Tests that he played for England in a six-year period, he finished with 255 wickets.

The moment the off-spinner found out he couldn’t be physically 100%, he gave up the game and England have struggled to unearth a spinner of his quality since his retirement.

From being someone who looked dangerous only on turning tracks to becoming a match-winner irrespective of the conditions, India off-spinner R Ashwin has come a long way.

Former England spinner Graeme Swann believes that the Indian spinner is undoubtedly the best in the world when it comes to the longest format of the game.

“Ashwin is easily the best off-spinner in the world, his record in the subcontinent is phenomenal and I loved the way he bowled at Edgbaston. Australia’s Nathan Lyon has come up brilliantly and I am impressed by the fact that he has been successful back home. He hasn’t been as effective in England and I would keep Ashwin just ahead of him because of the variations that he has, in addition to being brilliantly consistent,” Swann said.

Swann feels that Rashid Khan is amazing in the shortest format of the game. “In T20s you can’t look beyond Rashid Khan. He has a fast arm, great googly and is a brilliant story as well. Rashid is just a very exciting cricketer and I would love to see him be successful in Tests as well, as and when he gets to play regularly,” he said.

Even though Swann finished with 255 wickets in 60 Tests, he wasn’t known to bowl the doosra, a delivery that many felt couldn’t be bowled without bending the arm. Swann feels the disappearance of the doosra bowlers is the answer to the question on whether you need to bend the arm or not when bowling the delivery.

“No, doosra can’t be bowled without bending the arm. But I won’t give you a headline saying that all doosra bowlers chuck. But since that 15-degree rule came in the doosra bowlers disappeared from the game and that tells the story. But I feel there should be no bend in the arm at all, it should be ramrod straight!” he pointed.

Asked about the best advice he was ever given, Swann said: “It was Shane Warne who told me that the more the pitch does for the spinner, the lesser you need to do. That’s one thing I always kept in mind. In the first innings, I tried to use all my variations, but when the pitch started playing its part, I looked to stick to the basics and get the wickets.”

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