Australian batsman Matt Renshaw has been named in the 18-member squad for the four-match Test series for the Border Gavaskar Trophy (BGT) 2023, starting February 9. Renshaw believes he is ready to challenge spin maestro Ravichandran Ashwin if given a chance in the playing XI. The left-handed batsman was not a starter in the batting lineup for the first Test match.
The Aussies last played Test cricket in India in February 2017 and defeated the hosts by 333 runs in the first Test in Pune, 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 2023 World Test Championship points table, and this will be the final Test series to qualify for the final on June 8 at the Oval.
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Ashwin Is Difficult To Face – Matt Renshaw
The 26-year-old batter could get a chance to bat in the middle order if all-rounder Cameron Green does not regain full fitness. Renshaw has started his mind games, saying that he will be as prepared as ever to face Ashwin, who became the first bowler to take 200 wickets against left-handed batters in 2021.
“Ashwin is difficult to face. He is a smart bowler with a lot of variations and he uses them very well, but you do get used to him once you’ve faced him for a while,” Renshaw told AAP.
“I think the big challenge from Ashwin and any offspinner in spinning conditions to a left-hander is the lbw threat. Obviously everyone thinks about the one that turns and gets you caught at slip, but the big one is the lbw when it doesn’t spin. You just have to be ready for that one.”
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Renshaw returned to Australia’s Test squad and appeared 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 match. He believes that batting in the middle order helped him perform well against spin bowlers.
“I think two years batting at No. 5 helped me with facing spin. I know my game a lot better now and I am a lot more comfortable in different situations. We have a strong squad and it is going to be hard to push my way in, but I know that I will be ready if I do get a chance.”
Renshaw was part of the squad when Australia toured India in 2017, and he featured in all four Test matches where Ashwin dismissed him only once. He scored half-centuries in Pune and Bengaluru as well as 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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