Asia Cup 2016 February 29, 2016

Ashwin lauds India's improved death bowling

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'Treating every game like a World Cup knockout' - Ashwin

The reemergence of 36-year old Ashish Nehra, and the emergence of 22-year old Jasprit Bumrah has given India a lot of confidence at the start and end of a bowling innings. Both men have the skills to swing the ball in the Powerplay and then hamper the batsmen later on in the innings with yorkers, something their team-mate R Ashwin thinks is an asset India had been without in the past.

"I think it's a very good if you can punch as a group and especially Ashish, we all know that he is a very experienced candidate," Ashwin said. "He has come in on the back of a very good IPL last year, so we know exactly what his strengths are. He can swing the ball up front and has good abilities to bowl at the death. Bumrah has got a unique action and he has done very well in the IPL for the last couple of years. He can bowl those lethal yorkers again, which we might have been missing in the past few years so that's definitely given us an extra sting."

Nehra, who has played the two World Cups, still bowls at a brisk pace and had recent form in his favour - he took 22 wickets at 20.40 in the last IPL - to return to the Indian team in January 2016. The IPL has been accorded as a reason for Bumrah's rapid progression as well, except in the 20 matches he has played in the tournament, he has averaged 45.64 and his economy rate sits at 8.83. His T20 figures for India - eight matches, average of 16.36 and economy rate of 6.31 - have been more reflective of his work with Gujarat - 27 matches, average of 16.76 and economy of 6.27.

When asked how their good work impacts his own bowling, Ashwin said, "Our death bowling could definitely be much better than what it was in the past so that gives a lot of confidence and we can go about our middle overs with a lot more attacking instinct, to try and pick up wickets to seal things off. That's definitely a positive, but at the end of the day, only I can help myself"

The conditions in the Asia Cup have mostly been seamer-friendly, which has helped the likes of Nehra and Bumrah prosper. MS Dhoni had hoped the tournament would aid in preparing for the World T20 in India, where it is likely the pitches will be batsmen-friendly, if a little slow. Bangladesh and Sri Lanka played on such a surface yesterday and Ashwin, for his part, believes tackling a range of different conditions would help the team get better faster.

"We had a home series in Sri Lanka which was very different. Australia was again different wickets and big grounds and other different conditions, so if we are testing ourselves in different conditions in varied environments, it's good for the team.

"You can't try and beat the conditions. It's very important to go back and understand that it'll not spin a lot, so it's even more imperative that you put the ball in good lengths and try and get away with overs rather than looking to go for wickets because in T20s, more often than not, wickets are given by the pressure rather than the exact skill of the ball and that's what I look to do on such wickets and when there is a window to attack, I'll definitely attack."

India have minor fitness concerns heading into their match against Sri Lanka on Tuesday. Rohit Sharma, who was hit on the left toe by a Mohammad Amir Yorker, had gone for a scan, though the word from the team management is that there is nothing to worry. Shikhar Dhawan, who had sat out of that game against Pakistan with a niggle, has also recovered.

Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • HadesLogic on March 1, 2016, 13:07 GMT

    @WOLF777, spot on. Dhoni does not manage the workload of a bowler who seems good, he just grounds him into the dust with overs upon overs of largely containment bowling. PK, BK, RJ, IS... the list is long and unending, hope the same fate does not befall Bumrah. I was hoping that India would lose the toss and face some pressure on the fresh looking pitch (as practice for finals if nothing else). Hope that SL posts a challenging score.

  • Fast_Track_Bully on March 1, 2016, 5:37 GMT

    The one who asked about Indian win in ODIs should ask the same about their team. where they stand in ODIs?

  • SamRoy on March 1, 2016, 4:03 GMT

    One thing as Alagappan mentioned which Ashwin didn't mention is the amount of improvement in Bumrah this year compared to last IPL. This season in domestic cricket he was quite often hitting 140k, got seam movement both ways on helpful tracks and got his yorkers much more accurate. He was the standout player for Gujarat in Vijay Hazare Trophy (domestic 50 over tournament). Pandya on the other hand did well in Vijay Hazare Trophy and was the standout player for Baroda in Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy (domestic T20 tournament). Pandya is still very raw and can improve a lot in both batting and bowling whereas Bumrah is a much more finished product though he can add another yard of pace if he uses the left arm more.

  • cricket-is-passion on March 1, 2016, 0:40 GMT

    "When does Indian won ODI?" who cares about ODI now when current series is T20I and leading t World T20I cup. That's the main concentration and focus for now. Certainly, we can worry about ODI's once World cup T20I is over. every team seems to have good talent, its just matter of clicking on a given day would help their teams to win, its that simple and ofcourse experience counts in difficult conditions like today for Pak against UAE. Anyways, I hope Rohit is recovered and will have a good day with lot of runs against SL. Good luck to both India and SL though being an Indian wanted India to win but hoping to have a nail biting contest.

  • Anand.R on March 1, 2016, 0:32 GMT

    @samincolumbia

    I dont consider the last Ind-Pak game a big-one. It was just a league game in Asia Cup... it wasn't a semi-final or a final in a world cup nor was it a do-or-die situation where losing that game is going to throw you out of the tournament.

    But I agree with you on the threat that Bangladesh poses... they do have the potential to defeat any team in the world... they just have to play to that potential. Anyway, India are not taking anybody lightly. They will play UAE, SL, BD, Pak all the same with the intent to win. Good luck Team India. Bring home the Asia Cup and then World Cup, too.

  • blahblah1234567 on March 1, 2016, 0:13 GMT

    big poppa 94 I meant about India 's recent T20 performances and even u might agree that Bangladesh Sri Lanka uae and Pakistan aren't the strongest T20 sides going around also India beat a very different Australian side. there wasn't much pressure on this team and a world cup is 50 percent about how you handle pressure

  • MunafAhmed811 on February 29, 2016, 22:31 GMT

    @ BLAHBLAH1234567 Your comments were perfect spot on. Yes India played 4 weak teams in recent past in T20s. Aust/SL were not so weak but BD/Pakistan were definetly weak. Not India's fault they were weak. Guess gotta wait till WT20 when NZ/Eng come into the picture for some fight.... Rest all were brushed aside by IPL India with ease

  • indianzen on February 29, 2016, 21:57 GMT

    Formula for Shorter formats T20 and ODI both - Start aggressively, keep wickets in the middle and go for the kill by the end - while batting. Take early wickets, make use of the swing, put pressure in the middle overs, yorkers and slow balls at death when bowling. Any team can win with this formula provided the fielding is good. At the moment, BD could fight tough against India better than SL and PAK.

  • cantwaitwct20 on February 29, 2016, 21:38 GMT

    when mustifiqur rahim not in the team chances very less to beat pak? respect the opponent guys. how many people agree bcoz of mallinga injury exclusion bd won the match. tigers world is watching .. u guys playing really great. cricket lovers from bd really under estimating the opponents . guys bd playing against india(2007) pakistan(2008) srilanka(2014) champions. before u comment stop thrashing others.

  • cooljack_143 on February 29, 2016, 18:01 GMT

    If Ind dont loose wickets in a bunch, until at least 8 overs, they can easily score 120-130 runs in last 10 overs. Thanks to pandya . We need pawan negi in place of Yuvi for a change and see how he goes about his batting business and as an alrounder in spnning conditions,It will be grave mistake of not using him before WC matches. Bhajji can perform any day but new comers need time.

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