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Ravichandran Ashwin IANS

Matthew Hayden is all praise for Ravichandran Ashwin, going to the extent of hailing him as simply phenomenal . However, he is against comparing the lad with Harbhajan Singh: Hayden feels that Harbhajan is more attacking than Ashwin. Ashwin recently broke the Dennis Lillee s record, becoming the fastest bowler to 300 Test wickets. Hayden has played Harbhajan numerous times in his career. He has also worked with and monitored Ashwin closely during their days with Chennai Super Kings in IPL. He feels that the comparison between the two can be made on their mode of attack. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: India vs Sri Lanka 2017-18, 3rd Test at Delhi

On Ashwin

I think stats often lie but having said that, some of the milestone show remarkable respect to Ravichandran Ashwin, who is fastest to 300 wickets in Test cricket. Even if he plays for another five years, he would be remembered as one of the greats of his generation. His skill-set, like Harbhajan, is masterful but he is probably not as attacking off-spinner as Harbhajan was, said Hayden in an exclusive interview with PTI.

But then Ashwin doesn t really need to be as attacking as Bhajji. His role within this side is well-defined by a slightly better fast bowling attack than what my generation was facing. You line-up Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav and put Jasprit Bumrah into the mix with [Ravindra] Jadeja as the second spinner as well. So Ashwin is playing his role and doing it successfully. R Ashwin the best spinner in the world, believes Muttiah Muralitharan

On Harbhajan

Harbhajan I thought in his era was the dominant bowler especially against Australia so if Bhajji wasn t taking wickets, India were in trouble. I don t think Venkatesh Prasad was a wonderful Test match bowler. I think Harbhajan was the lone role maker. With due respect, Zaheer Khan or Javagal Srinath were wonderful bowlers but I think they were less of a threat compared to guys that are there now.

On the new Fab Four

[Virat] Kohli, [Steven] Smith, Joe Root and Kane Williamson are vastly different players and good thing about all these guys is that each one of them is stepping on greatness in their own unique ways along with Cheteshwar Pujara and his Rahul Dravid like approach to Test cricket. Williamson s back-foot play and ability to play the ball late in all conditions is something we haven t seen in modern players. Kohli s cover drive and ability to attack bowlers with quality running between the wickets and the manner in which he plays spin is unique. Ravichandran Ashwin fastest to 300 wickets; breaks Dennis Lillee s record

Now come to Smith with his unorthodox back-and-across type of approach with that technique you might say he should not have achieved anywhere near what he is. The reality is that High Performance coaches should understand that there is not one right technique, most of it is between your left and right ear. These guys are great players as in their heads; they have got it spot on.

On an imaginary battle between Kohli and Glenn McGrath

He [Kohli] would have found a way I think like all great players do. You can cast shadow over technique and everyone has their own flaws but reality is that they overcome those deficiencies with application and commitment. So Kohli would have done fine against Glenn I think.

On Kohli s struggle in England

Having a moderate season in conditions like England [in 2014] might have been a good thing for Virat. He has learnt probably what he has to do next time round. I was in same boat as well as I was scoring a thousand runs in County cricket in England but during Test matches, I had a certain role to play.

Well, it didn t get me results in England, right through my career. It was one venue where I battled a bit because I too had an attacking strategy like Virat. He loves to hit the ball like all Indian players do. But in England you have to leave the balls, build runs and hence wise the Pujaras or the Rahanes do well because they leave a lot of deliveries. It s a different mindset.