India were brilliant in their last Test series against New Zealand, defeating them 3-0, and are currently leading England 2-0 in the five-match series. Ravichandran Ashwin has played an instrumental role in the England series so far, both with the bat and the ball.
The off-spinner is primarily in the team to take wickets, and help the team emerge victorious, but Ashwin is doing much more than just roll his arm over. He has amassed 239 runs in the three matches so far, much more than India opener Murali Vijay (192). Coming to his major forte, he has taken 15 wickets.
India's chief selector MSK Prasad praised the bowler for his batting skills.
"Ashwin is no longer a bowler, but a dependable batsman. His timing is so perfect that people mistake him for VVS Laxman. Ashwin's batting makes other players feel more relaxed in the dressing room," The Times of India quoted Prasad as saying.
In the spin department, newcomer Jayant Yadav has also been brilliant with the ball, with eight wickets in his name in two Test matches. The selector also informed that Ashwin wanted wanted Prasad to back Yadav.
"Ashwin always shares his knowledge. He has watched Jayant from close quarters and told me to back him. The hallmark of this Indian team is that they are ready to help each other and revel in each other's success," Prasad said.
The selectors are not afraid to give youngsters a crack at the national team if they have it in them to perform at the international stage. With the inclusion of Yadav, other youngsters, performing in the domestic cricket, should also be encouraged to perform on the same scale and earn a India call-up.
One of those names is aggressive batsman Rishabh Pant, who has been earning a good name with his batting skills in the domestic circuit. His performances have not gone unnoticed, and Prasad said that he is on the radar.
"Rishabh is an exciting youngster who plays attacking cricket. He is having a great maiden season, but I believe everyone should come through the system. Rishabh is someone who is definitely under the radar," Prasad said.
Wicket-keeper Parthiv Patel, who has also been consistent for Gujarat, also made a comeback to India cricket after eight years, only after Wriddhiman Saha was injured. But Prasad has made it clear that Saha, when fit, is the number one choice.
"Parthiv's statistics speak volumes about the way he has performed for Gujarat in the last few years. He has been very good with the bat, and more importantly, Parthiv's glove work is much better than before. But Saha remains our No. 1 keeper," he said.