Muttiah Muralitharan, who has played alongside Ashwin during their time with the Chennai Super Kings, feels the offie always sported the qualities needed to be the kind of bowler he is at the moment. "Firstly, Ashwin always had the basics in place, was willing to learn and get better at his craft. Secondly, like any bowler of international repute, Ashwin has learned the art of remaining patient in order to get the wickets. He is ready to bide his time and work his way through in order to outdo the batsman," Murali told TOI on Tuesday.
During the recently-concluded Test series against the Kiwis, Ashwin broke Murali's record of being the second-quickest to reach 200 Test dismissals. He achieved the milestone in 37 matches as against the Sri Lankan's 42. Murali feels both Ashwin and Pakistan leg-spinner Yasir Shah have the ability to overhaul his record of 800 Test dismissals. "Records are meant only to be broken. I feel both (Yasir and Ashwin) - going by the current form - can go for my record. Getting there would depend on their longevity, fitness and form," said Murali.
The Lankan spin ace believes Ashwin's Test record outside the sub-continent is bound to get better in the coming years. "I had the opportunity to play county cricket which helped me understand the conditions better in England. When I got to play Tests against England, I knew the areas to bowl at. May be, Ashwin too would do well if he plays county as that's the perfect platform to learn how to bowl on wickets that traditionally assists the faster bowlers," reasoned Murali who has 48 wickets in 6 Tests in England.
Ashwin is in terrific form and in the upcoming test series against England he would be raring to have a go at them..Chirag Parekh
Murali is of the opinion that Ashwin shouldn't be losing sleep over critics digging up his Test records in Australia, South Africa and England. "If you have taken 8-10 wickets on pitches that assist spin, you would end up getting lesser purchase on wickets that are pacer-friendly, but you still are the team's premium bowler. Ashwin is experienced enough to know the areas he has to work on and come up trumps," Murali said.
Interestingly, Murali mentioned that Ashwin's batting has rubbed off on his bowling as well. "Ashwin's confidence is sky-high and as an all-rounder he is able to contribute with the bat and ball. He has scored those crucial runs whenever the team needed him arriving lower down the order, and that's a big plus for his team. Ashwin has been able to replicate his batting form to his bowling and vice-versa," said Murali.