IND vs AUS: “He’s a smart bowler with lots of variations and he uses them really well” – Matt Renshaw says Ravichandran Ashwin is hard to face

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Australian batsman Matt Renshaw has been named in the 18-man squad for the four-match Test series for the 2023 Border Gavaskar Trophy (BGT), which begins on February 9. Renshaw believes he is ready to challenge spin maestro Ravichandran Ashwin if given the chance in the playing XI. The left-handed batsman was not a starter in the batting line-up for the first Test match.

The Aussies last played Test cricket in India in February 2017, beating the hosts by 333 runs in the first Test in Poona, but lost the series 2-1. The Pat Cummins-led side will be hoping for their first series win in India since 2004. India are second in the points table of the 2023 World Test Championship, and this will be the last Test series to qualify for the final on June 8 at the Oval.

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Ashwin is hard to face – Matt Renshaw

The 26-year-old batter could get a chance to hit in the middle if all-rounder Cameron Green doesn’t get back to full fitness. Renshaw has started his mind games and said he will be as prepared as ever to take on Ashwin, who became the first bowler to take 200 wickets against left-handed batters in 2021.

“Ashwin is hard to face. He’s a smart bowler with lots of variations and he uses them very well, but you get used to him once you’ve faced him for a while.” Renshaw told AAP.

Ravichandran Ashwin
Ravichandran Ashwin. Image: BCCI

“I think the big challenge of Ashwin and any offspinner in spinning conditions for a southpaw is the lbw threat. Obviously everyone thinks of the one who turns and catches you slipping, but the big one is the lbw when not turning. You just have to be ready for that.”

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Renshaw returned to the Australian Test squad, appearing in the playing XI for the New Year’s Test against South Africa in Sydney earlier this month, having returned with a positive COVID report on the opening day of the game. He believes hitting in the middle order helped him perform well against spin bowlers.

“I think hitting number 5 for two years helped me face spin. I now know my game much better and feel much more comfortable in different situations. We have a strong team and it will be difficult to break through, but I know I will be ready if I get the chance.”

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Renshaw was part of the squad when Australia toured India in 2017, playing in all four Test matches where Ashwin only sacked him once. He scored half centuries in Pune and Bengaluru and 44 in Ranchi but failed to convert them into big scores and lost his place in the team a year later.

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