Australia v India, 3rd Test, SCG, 2nd day January 4, 2012

Ashwin hopes for turnaround


It is not often that India players get affected by what is being said in the media, the conventional one or the social variety. There is just too much around, and the players prefer to spend as little mental energy as possible on the media, which is understandable too. They usually go through their motions in press conferences, choosing to not say much. Like Duncan Fletcher did yesterday, after yet another failure of the batting line-up. R Ashwin, though, has said that all the talk of a possible whitewash, a repeat of what happened in England, is the "biggest detriment" for them.

After India conceded 366 runs on the second day for just one wicket, Ashwin was asked when and how he thought things might turn around. "Someone will have to stand up and ask themselves to be counted," Ashwin said. "It has to come from within. It's all fine when you sit together and give all those speeches. Those speeches are very good to watch on TV. It has to come from within. You have to deliver out there.

"It has happened before, and I know, I understand, where you are trying to get at. We lost 4-0 on an overseas tour before this. It really has to come from within. For all you know, people telling it's going to be another 4-0, another 2-0... For starters I don't know how it works with you guys. For us to just hear that repetitively, that itself is the biggest detriment for us. So I don't know. It has to come from someone. Maybe it will come from everyone in the next innings. Probably [Nos] 1 to 11 will get a fifty."

It was a slightly strange admission to make in the middle of a Test match. Ashwin was feistier when asked about the haste in going on to the defensive when in the field. "What else do you do with 190 in the pocket?" he asked back when the question was put forward. "You'll have to save every run possible. Supposing you get two or three wickets later on, and someone is having a good spell, we have those runs to play with later. That has got to be the only idea. It's common sense. Nothing else."

It was a fair call, in that there were only 191 runs to play with. India's batting has now gone past 300 only once in their last 17 away Test innings. Ashwin was left hoping the batting will come good in the second innings. "It's going to be a catch-up game from now on," Ashwin said. "We'll have to dig deep and bat long. One or two persons will have to stand up and really show how it is going to turn around from now on. If you need it to turn around, you need someone to stand up and make themselves counted."

Ashwin, who has been part of a pretty successful Indian ODI side, was asked if he didn't see the same kind in this beleaguered Test side. "It's easier to believe for 50 overs than for a lot of overs," he said. "Ninety [overs] into [times] five days. It's tougher to believe over that period of time. You will have to see everyone scale it up to then. Honestly nobody wants to come out and go down losing every time. Everybody wants to be there and do something.

"We haven't - the biggest thing is our catching has been quite good. Whatever has gone we have been picking up the catches so far. This is what the batsmen can contribute when they are standing on the field. Very frankly the wicket has flattened out today, and there was nothing on offer. People were going really hard today and bending their backs.

"As I said, you can't fault the efforts of the bowlers. They ran in hard. Ishant [Sharma] was clocking 140 in the final spell. That's all you can expect from the fast bowlers as of now."

About his own effort, Ashwin said, "I haven't landed anything short, I haven't delivered anything full. I haven't really bowled many bad balls. I have been bowling really well. The wicket column has to really reflect, [but] I am not someone who is going to read into that. Keep going on. There will be a spell where I can turn it around. Sure about that."

However, it is clear now that, for Ashwin to make a real impact, the batsmen will have to perform a miracle. "I am someone who is going to stay positive," Ashwin said. "If we can bat really well in the third innings and put something on the board on the final day, we will be good enough to work around and fight with that."

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on January 7, 2012, 10:22 GMT

    Why many of the comments that I see here are highly biased against India. When India was ranked no 1 test team by the ICC NOT TOO LONG ago, comments were that the ranking was rubbish. Many Indians also believe what the biased critics say against India. When India looses 4-0 in England the critics say triumphantly I said so " India is not good enough" Their great batsmen are only flat trach bullies! The same comments are getting repeated in Australia. My dear critics: England won 4-0 in England and Australia is leading 2-0 in Australia. Neither Team has ever shown the quality to win against India in India. India is very good in India, so also England in England and Australia in Australia. Why Only rile Indians when they do not play as well as they do in India. If Indians are vulnerable to pace, swing and bounce, so are the Aussies and English terribly weak against spin not only in India and even in Srilanka. Even with Warne Australia lost in India twice and England was beaten 5-0.

  • zia on January 5, 2012, 21:27 GMT

    After two test matches it's all Clear that Ashwin is an Indian Flat Pitch Bowler!!! He can't Perform well out side the India!!! I think Performances are better then Statements!!! Before Starting of test Series I have Posted that the Result will be 4-0 or 3-1 in Favour of Australia!!! Wait and watch!!!

  • Dummy4 on January 5, 2012, 4:56 GMT

    Its funny to think that before this series a lot of Indians were writing off Australia after being beaten by NZ in Hobart. Just goes to show that maybe NZ aren't the easy beats that most think they are and with a few more test matches each year id like to think they'd become a bit more consistent to. I think the NZ pace attack would be all over this Indian team as well

  • Satish on January 5, 2012, 3:16 GMT

    @Nsaharan : Its all happening when the players u mentioned are here.. Surely it will not get worse without them.. One ugly whitewash and one heading towards it.. Can it get any worse? The replacements will be good enough to score in home for sure.. They are playing domestic cricket and should be in decent touch..

  • Dummy4 on January 5, 2012, 2:15 GMT

    it will be repeat of england... no doubt...wait and watch...

  • Tony on January 5, 2012, 2:14 GMT

    Something has to change in the ranking system. It is absurd that India, following their absolute drubbing in England, are the number 2 ranked Test side. This side that visited England was one of the worst test teams I have ever seen, and nothing has really changed in Australia.

  • Dummy4 on January 5, 2012, 2:04 GMT

    Hello mandar_1978(posting on 4 th janury), it is too early to cry Shame!Shame! Let us wait & see!.Rain is a factor which contributes simultaneously as a factor of Adverse as well as Favourable to either Teams.Let us Hope,though in vain,for Rain God to help!Otherwise,you have enough time to cry later on. Any how it appears that the INEVITABLE is going to happen tomorrow or day after if not hastened to today itself Viz 5 th of January for Australians & Indians! What a New year Gift it is going to be for World Champions!!! The just one match India won was in 1978 January when the Great Spinner of Yesteryear CHANDRASEKHAR took 6 wickets each in both the innings of Aussies a total of 12 wickets in the Match!Here now in Melbourne too the Bowlers had brought India to a position where winning was possible!.But Batsmen including the Veteran Thrimurtys failed.Had we won the Melbourne Test,perhaps,this debar Cle here now could have been avoided as the Aussies would not have performed so well. MS

  • debashis on January 5, 2012, 1:09 GMT

    When we talk about batsman scoring heavily in Australia in 2003/4 or 2007/8 (and "almost" winning the series), I guess the main 2 factors were 1. Australia were without MCGrath n Warne in 2003 2. CA , for some reason , produced batting beauties even in WACA.

    Whenever there was pace/ bounce(I mean sporting pitches ,not green tops ) and bowlers to exploit "that something" in the pitch , our(Indian) batting greats have failed (there are a few exceptions here and there). And that has been the case for the last 20 years . So failure of the Indian batsmen is not new , just that our batsmen dont have the ability to handle those conditions on a consistent basis (again I say there were exceptions ). Now if we say certain GG is "out of form" , sorry , I dont agree to that . He just does not have the ability . Put these Indian batsmen in Indian dead pitches tomorrow,I am sure they will score loads of runs . So its not the loss of form affecting the players , its just that theyrnot capable enuf

  • Narender on January 5, 2012, 0:43 GMT

    I think we should all stop blaiming the pitch and take some responsinility for our atrocious display of the game. This is a warning signal for the selectors - what will happen once Dravid,Laxman,Sachin and Sehwag will retire ??? why are they being short sighted.....

  • Abdul on January 5, 2012, 0:00 GMT

    i think he (@ Full-Blooded-Wallop) needs sound sleep for a month

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