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Matt Renshaw ready for R Ashwin test if opportunity arises in India

If Matt Renshaw is called up to Australia’s Test side on the forthcoming tour of India, he says he will be as prepared as ever to take on spin maestro R Ashwin.

In 2021, Ashwin became the first bowler in history to take 200 wickets against left-handed batters. Renshaw, 26, will be touring with fellow top-six left-handers David Warner, Usman Khawaja and Travis Head. Wicket-keeper Alex Carey is also a southpaw, so the challenges ahead are immense in the four Test series that kicks off next month.

Renshaw would play in the middle order if selected for the current side. When Australia toured India in 2017, he played all but one of the innings of the four Tests as an opener. Ashwin only edged him out once, in the first test in Pune, but not before he topped it with 68.

“Ashwin is hard to face. He’s a smart bowler with a lot of variations and he uses them really well, but you do get used to him once you’ve faced him for a while,” Renshaw told AAP. “I think the big challenge for 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 he doesn’t turn. You just have to be ready.

“I think two years batting at number 5 has helped me face spin. I know my game a lot better now and I feel much more comfortable in different situations. We have a strong team and it will be difficult to my way in, but I know I’ll be ready if I get the chance.”

Still part of the Brisbane Heat’s BBL campaign, Renshaw is preparing for India by having the spinners on his team like Mitch Swepson, Matt Kuhnemann and even Marnus Labuschagne throw the SG ball at him which is being used in India Test Cricket.

“The SG ball is a bit different, so we try to prepare as best we can during this BBL schedule if we get a chance to hit reds,” said Renshaw. “It’s a lot of different conditions in India, so we try to replicate them as much as possible.

“The plan was like [the Heat] was knocked out, we would make some preparations with the [Australian] team in Sydney, but we just kept winning and are now in the final. We have a good week and a little bit in India for the first test, so there will be plenty of time to prepare there too.”

Renshaw returned to the Test team in Sydney against South Africa this month to replace the injured Cameron Green after previously playing in that format in 2018.

He did this on the basis of strong form in first-class cricket. Daughter Charlotte’s new dad has seen how close friend and teammate Khawaja feels about his cricket and has learned to enjoy the moment rather than worry about selections.

“I feel good with my cricket. I just roll with all the punches and enjoy myself,” said Renshaw.

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