Kolkata: With Ravichandran Ashwin playing a stellar knock in the Indian first innings of the Eden Gardens Test, former Indian skipper Rahul Dravid Friday said a good show by lower order batsman, like Ashwin, bodes well for the country's cricket.
Ashwin cracked his second Test ton as India tightened their grip by taking a sizeable 219-run lead over the West Indies on day three of the first Test in Sachin Tendulkar's farewell series here Friday.
"Over the last few years definitely you know you speak a lot about the contribution lower order batsman can make and how critical that can be in the course of the Test match and how important they can be," Dravid told a television channel.
"Ashwin's always been someone who enjoys batting ... likes batting ... works on his batting ... you see him talk about batting ... he is someone who is always going to be a good player ... it's a good sign for Indian cricket."
He pointed out that to polish their skills, lower order batsmen need to be given adequate batting practice.
"So you also need to ensure you also give them the right practice. What happens a lot is that a lot of lower order batsman don't get enough batting practice ... what they get left is some of the scraps. The main batsmen bat all the time and the tailenders get the net bowlers and bowlers who do not have quality and then you expect them to try and perform in the middle of a Test match ... that's not going to happen," he said.
The ace batsman said there has been "a conscious effort" during the last few series to "try and ensure at least the tail-enders get quality batting practice so that they can make these contributions".
Their improved skills also add to the team's repertoire and boost the squad's confidence to play good cricket abroad.
"I know Bhuvneshwar Kumar can bat quite well, Sourav (Ganguly) seems to say Mohammed Shami can hit a long ball as well ... so you do have players lower on the order who can play. They give the Indian team a lot more options as well. Going abroad we can have the courage and confidence to play five bowlers and win Test matches and that's the thing. We haven't had that for a long time."