Kolkata : Former India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh reckons Rajasthan Royals realised the true potential of Ravichandran Ashwin’s all-round abilities and have made use of it to the fullest in IPL 2022. In his debut season for Rajasthan in IPL, Ashwin has delivered with the ball, picking 11 wickets, as well as excelling in the batting order as a surprise floater, as seen from him smashing an unbeaten 40 off 23 balls to lead his side to a win over Chennai Super Kings to qualify for the playoffs. “Rajasthan Royals should be credited for showing faith in Ashwin’s all-round abilities and this is the best franchise to have ever made full use of R. Ashwin. No franchise has ever utilised Ashwin’s batting talent before but this team has promoted him up in the batting order and he’s won them a match with the bat. “They have understood the true potential of R. Ashwin and full credit to Ashwin for reposing the faith of the franchise as well,” said Harbhajan on ‘Cricket Live’ show on Star Sports.
At the same time, Harbhajan believes Rajasthan’s batting mainstay and leading run-getter of the tournament, Jos Buttler, had peaked early in the tournament, which is why runs have dried up from the swashbuckling England batter as he got out for single-digit scores in last three matches. Harbhajan opined that Buttler should go back to his basics in order to regain his form and come back strongly in the Qualifier 1 against Gujarat Titans on Tuesday at Eden Gardens in Kolkata. “Jos Buttler will have to adjust to the pitches in Kolkata. The pitches in Maharashtra have slowed down as the tournament reached its business end but the Eden Gardens track will be fresh, so not just Buttler, every batter will have to make that necessary adjustment.
“Coming to Buttler, I feel that he seems to have peaked very early and that is a reason why runs are not flowing through his bat in the latter part of the tournament. He’s a great player and he’ll have to go back to his basics to regain his form.” Former England off-spinner Graeme Swann has backed Rajasthan to book their direct ticket to the final and has even predicted for the re-match of Qualifier 1 to happen in the final. “Rajasthan Royals will win that first game (Qualifier 1) against Gujarat Titans. I honestly think first and second i.e. Gujarat and Rajasthan are the two best sides in this season and they could end up facing each other in that final.”