India v New Zealand, 1st Test, Hyderabad, 4th day August 26, 2012

An increasingly threatening partnership

R Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha have an excellent record bowling together at home and could play a critical role in tougher tests ahead
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R Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha have now taken 60 wickets between them in the four Tests they have played together. How much ever you try to temper it down, it is still a remarkable stat. Yes, all the four Tests were at home. Yes, all the four Tests were against West Indies and New Zealand batsmen who are uncomfortable against spin. Yes, Ashwin-and-Ojha are not remotely Anil Kumble-and-Harbhajan Singh yet. But an average return of 15 wickets per Test is no joke. Had they been a pair of young fast bowlers who had demolished batsmen for four successive home Tests, you can imagine the kind of hype they would have generated.

All the talk in recent days has been about the need for India's young batsmen to get exposure against New Zealand before England and Australia arrive. VVS Laxman gave the same reason for announcing his international retirement days before this Test started, despite being selected for the series. But as big a positive for India is the kind of partnership Ashwin and Ojha have started to develop. For all their overseas troubles, India still have an outstanding home record, and Ashwin-and-Ojha will be critical to their chances against England and Australia.

They may have bowled together in only four games at the Test level, but Ashwin said they go back a long way. "Ojha is someone who I have played with since I was 16 and we have always enjoyed each other's company," Ashwin said. "I was a batsman then when Ojha was a prime bowler but I still used to bowl in one-day games. We always used to bowl well together because we used to build pressure very well."

That pressure was applied from both ends against New Zealand as well. Both Ashwin and Ojha have excellent control over their stock deliveries, and don't bowl a lot of hit-me balls. Both rely a lot on bounce, not so much on turn; there was plenty of the former on this pitch. Ashwin used his height to get it, Ojha his pivot. Both are young and inexperienced, though, which means a few short ones every now and then. Both should learn with time.

What helps is that both are quite different bowlers. Ashwin, in the longer form, is not unlike Harbhajan, in that he seems to want a wicket with almost every delivery he bowls, and starts showing signs of impatience when it doesn't come. He will bang it hard into the pitch and increase the pace, hoping to get more bite, especially on flatter pitches. But, not unlike the Harbhajan of old, he seems to come up with the wicket-taking deliveries regularly, and seemingly out of nowhere.

Ojha has the more containing role in the team, and is quite good at it. Once he hits a restrictive line, he hardly deviates from it. He might bowl the odd short ball, but his line is usually very consistent. Unlike Ashwin, he does not go out of his way to try and pick up wickets, and that works well for both. Not that Ojha has a very defensive mindset - he flights the ball so much - but for him, as he says, a wicket is the outcome of tying batsmen down first.

Ashwin acknowledged Ojha's contribution in the game. "Due credit needs to be given to him. When one spinner starts to take wickets, the other spinner can get carried away and doesn't really bog the batsman down."

A look at the scorecard might tell you it was all too easy for the India spinners but this morning, New Zealand went through an entire session without losing a wicket, with Brendon McCullum and Kane Williamson batting safely. The session would have been another lesson in patience for Ashwin and Ojha.

"We have seen many such cases in first-class cricket," Ashwin said. "When two batsmen are going good, even on dustbowls, it is very tough for a bowler to dislodge them. You have to prise them out, be very patient and once one or two wickets fall quickly, it becomes that much easier because the new batsman has to move his feet around, get his technique in place. So you can be attacking him all the time. We knew it was a matter of time, a matter of patience to play on the batsman."

With his haul of 12 for 85, Ashwin went past the 12 for 152 by his fellow Tamil Nadu offspinner and former India captain S Venkataraghavan in 1965 as the best by an India bowler against New Zealand. "I took a glance at it during the presentation and I told Badri [S Badrinath, also from Tamil Nadu], 'Look who is in second place'," Ashwin said. India will want that given responsive surfaces, Ashwin and Ojha would have similar things to say against England and Australia as well.

Abhishek Purohit is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on August 29, 2012, 15:50 GMT

    Ok, Indian pitches they did well, they taken every wickets of New Zealand; India, New Zealand visiting time they also will do same like this. They will prepare fast pitches and India cannot cross 200, same like what happened in South Africa, England and West Indies. So no need to praise this much otherwise they need to take wickets in fast pitches, that they can't and also for what Zaheer Khan in team, this much senior player he need to take rest, opposition not that much strong, if they can include some new bowlers or all rounders in his place, at least they will get some experience, otherwise like in England if anybody injured; they need to call RP Singh or somebody (very poor performer even in internal matches too within one year.) Please prepare fast pitches at least for internal matches otherwise Indian cricket team big zero in abroad.

  • DINESHCC on August 29, 2012, 6:50 GMT

    KIWIROCKER: Please talk with some sense. When India lost 15-0 in England and OZ and Ashwin was thrashed by English players in England and Pak players thrashed ashwin in Asia Cup? In Oz India won an ODI and T20 against OZ. Ashwin never played against England in tests and in ODIs he was the leading wicket taker for India. In the Asia cup his figures against Pak was 10-0-56-1, whereas the leading, promising and Pak's future bowlerWAHAB RIAZ figures were 4-0-50-0 and another gifted, youngest, promising spinner Ajmal's figure was 9-0-49-1. Poor player he could not complete his quota against India. If you have time please advise your team how to win against Oz at least on your home ground.

  • Thyagu5432 on August 28, 2012, 8:55 GMT

    The best part of both Ashwin and Ojha is that you have an expectation of a wicket falling everytime they come on to bowl. You never lose hope. I don't think Bajji ever had that effect definitely not in the near past but I think even earlier. It may be too early to judge, but looks like Ashwin has sealed his spot in all forms of the game all over while Ojha for Sub-continent tests.

  • satish619chandar on August 28, 2012, 8:30 GMT

    @pankajkumarsingh : When was Ashwin trashed in England? Try to get your facts right buddy.. May be in Australia but the whole world knows the condition where the game was played and the record of visiting spinners in Australia.. For the matter, any home spinner apart from Warne.. Kumble had one series of success there.. India has the weakest spin attack - in terms of experience alone. I could see Ash and Ojha as second leading spin attack after Ajmal and Rehman. I think the England test series will give us the perfect picture..

  • ramli on August 28, 2012, 8:17 GMT

    How sad ... there are people who will not cherish victory, not appreciate young talent succeeding ... cricket is never thought as a team game in India ... it is always about individuals .. be it praise or hatred ... silly

  • ramli on August 28, 2012, 8:03 GMT

    Ashwin has started well ... let us appreciate that and wish him well ... why take extreme stands ... certainly this pair can achieve greater things in future ... if the selectors allow them???

  • sweetspot on August 28, 2012, 7:38 GMT

    By the same yardstick, how well have Broad, Bresnan and Anderson done in subcontinent conditions? Anderson went for 91 in 10 overs without getting a wicket against Bangladesh, anybody remember? So is he a useless bowler? India has done better abroad than other teams have done in India, so time to stop harping on that front, too.

  • sweetspot on August 28, 2012, 7:18 GMT

    No matter what - judging any Test cricketer after just 7 tests is not fair, whether positive or negative. That said, 43 wickets is not to be scoffed at, no matter what the conditions provided. Let Ojha and Ashwin add to their awesome combined tally for another year or so, and then we can take stock.

  • satish619chandar on August 28, 2012, 6:05 GMT

    @KiwiRocker: Good points mate.. Ojha and Ashwin didn't play against England bu Bhajji and Mishra.. Ashwin played against Australia and he was the best spinner from both the sides in those games. We all know how tough it is for the spinners in Australia and England especially.. BTW, Ashwin's record against WI and NZ wouldn't make him a star just yet but still, it is welcome.. Yes he didn't prove yet against bigger teams but still, he haven't failed too as he didn't play them yet in better conditions for spin.. As mch i agree with you that Ash isn't a success yet, you too need to accept that he isn't a failure yet as you mentioned.. Oh yeah.. India is in lower half after a full turn of away tours and now they have a schedule where they are going to play more in home.. Tables may turn buddy..

  • satish619chandar on August 28, 2012, 5:28 GMT

    Lets be more clear mates.. Unless you are a Shane Warne, you will never say Spinners can bowl very well in England, Australia and South Africa.. Not even the other greatest in Murali. Paceman's record will not be measured by success in India or even SC.. So why show dissent to another art? If we should not hype Ashwin for taking wickets only on spin tracks, why say Cummins/Pattinson the great next thing without being tested in SC tracks..

  • on August 29, 2012, 15:50 GMT

    Ok, Indian pitches they did well, they taken every wickets of New Zealand; India, New Zealand visiting time they also will do same like this. They will prepare fast pitches and India cannot cross 200, same like what happened in South Africa, England and West Indies. So no need to praise this much otherwise they need to take wickets in fast pitches, that they can't and also for what Zaheer Khan in team, this much senior player he need to take rest, opposition not that much strong, if they can include some new bowlers or all rounders in his place, at least they will get some experience, otherwise like in England if anybody injured; they need to call RP Singh or somebody (very poor performer even in internal matches too within one year.) Please prepare fast pitches at least for internal matches otherwise Indian cricket team big zero in abroad.

  • DINESHCC on August 29, 2012, 6:50 GMT

    KIWIROCKER: Please talk with some sense. When India lost 15-0 in England and OZ and Ashwin was thrashed by English players in England and Pak players thrashed ashwin in Asia Cup? In Oz India won an ODI and T20 against OZ. Ashwin never played against England in tests and in ODIs he was the leading wicket taker for India. In the Asia cup his figures against Pak was 10-0-56-1, whereas the leading, promising and Pak's future bowlerWAHAB RIAZ figures were 4-0-50-0 and another gifted, youngest, promising spinner Ajmal's figure was 9-0-49-1. Poor player he could not complete his quota against India. If you have time please advise your team how to win against Oz at least on your home ground.

  • Thyagu5432 on August 28, 2012, 8:55 GMT

    The best part of both Ashwin and Ojha is that you have an expectation of a wicket falling everytime they come on to bowl. You never lose hope. I don't think Bajji ever had that effect definitely not in the near past but I think even earlier. It may be too early to judge, but looks like Ashwin has sealed his spot in all forms of the game all over while Ojha for Sub-continent tests.

  • satish619chandar on August 28, 2012, 8:30 GMT

    @pankajkumarsingh : When was Ashwin trashed in England? Try to get your facts right buddy.. May be in Australia but the whole world knows the condition where the game was played and the record of visiting spinners in Australia.. For the matter, any home spinner apart from Warne.. Kumble had one series of success there.. India has the weakest spin attack - in terms of experience alone. I could see Ash and Ojha as second leading spin attack after Ajmal and Rehman. I think the England test series will give us the perfect picture..

  • ramli on August 28, 2012, 8:17 GMT

    How sad ... there are people who will not cherish victory, not appreciate young talent succeeding ... cricket is never thought as a team game in India ... it is always about individuals .. be it praise or hatred ... silly

  • ramli on August 28, 2012, 8:03 GMT

    Ashwin has started well ... let us appreciate that and wish him well ... why take extreme stands ... certainly this pair can achieve greater things in future ... if the selectors allow them???

  • sweetspot on August 28, 2012, 7:38 GMT

    By the same yardstick, how well have Broad, Bresnan and Anderson done in subcontinent conditions? Anderson went for 91 in 10 overs without getting a wicket against Bangladesh, anybody remember? So is he a useless bowler? India has done better abroad than other teams have done in India, so time to stop harping on that front, too.

  • sweetspot on August 28, 2012, 7:18 GMT

    No matter what - judging any Test cricketer after just 7 tests is not fair, whether positive or negative. That said, 43 wickets is not to be scoffed at, no matter what the conditions provided. Let Ojha and Ashwin add to their awesome combined tally for another year or so, and then we can take stock.

  • satish619chandar on August 28, 2012, 6:05 GMT

    @KiwiRocker: Good points mate.. Ojha and Ashwin didn't play against England bu Bhajji and Mishra.. Ashwin played against Australia and he was the best spinner from both the sides in those games. We all know how tough it is for the spinners in Australia and England especially.. BTW, Ashwin's record against WI and NZ wouldn't make him a star just yet but still, it is welcome.. Yes he didn't prove yet against bigger teams but still, he haven't failed too as he didn't play them yet in better conditions for spin.. As mch i agree with you that Ash isn't a success yet, you too need to accept that he isn't a failure yet as you mentioned.. Oh yeah.. India is in lower half after a full turn of away tours and now they have a schedule where they are going to play more in home.. Tables may turn buddy..

  • satish619chandar on August 28, 2012, 5:28 GMT

    Lets be more clear mates.. Unless you are a Shane Warne, you will never say Spinners can bowl very well in England, Australia and South Africa.. Not even the other greatest in Murali. Paceman's record will not be measured by success in India or even SC.. So why show dissent to another art? If we should not hype Ashwin for taking wickets only on spin tracks, why say Cummins/Pattinson the great next thing without being tested in SC tracks..

  • Chris_P on August 28, 2012, 0:50 GMT

    @ Soban Babu. You are correct about the way he bowled in Australia. No spinner (except Warne) has ever had great success here, yet he was always thoughtful in his plan & strategies. If he came on to bowl behind a better performing pace attack, things might have been different, but on unresponsive pitches, he did well. With Ohja confirming his improvement, I would suggest Bhaji's test prospects look dim in the near future, especially with the emerging Singh from your U19 side on the rise.

  • Daveptee on August 28, 2012, 0:13 GMT

    All Ashwin lovers as well as Ashwin baiters,it is too early to pronounce judgement on his test caliber and potential.Let him play matches against other countries and outside India. Pass your judgements after he has played at least 40-50 tests.We can say for sure that he is a pretty good limited overs bowler.It is equally preposterous to declare Harmeer the next Bedi as was to declare Irfan the next Wasim Akram.We will all be delighted if India thrashes both England and Australia though they are more likely to do that with Ojha and Ashwin on dustbowls than with the help of Zaheer, Umesh and Ishant on green tops.One batsman who should occupy the number 6 slot in the test line up could be Mandeep Singh or maybe Unmukt Chand can receive his baptism by fire....

  • on August 27, 2012, 19:50 GMT

    Like I have been commenting earlier in different articles that Indian bowling doesn't really lack quality rather it had been the bowling strategy that had been flawed which made indian bowling figures terrible...........e.g if Mc Grath (the greatest fast bowler) bowls full tosses on Perth wicket it will be food & drink for even the Bangladeshi tailenders - pitch is bowling friendly, best bowler in operation then y a tailender tharashing ??...............Ans WRONG BOWLING STRATEGY................Similarly the Indian bowling strategy had been flawed as fast bowlers were asked to bowl slow balls, spinners were asked to dart fast yorkers, hit the deck bowler (Ishant) was asked to bowl full into the stumps, Fast Inswinger bowler Yadav was asked to bowl short of length outside off stump with offside field, Zaheer was bowling full tosses; slow medium pacers Irfan, Dinda, Parveen were asked to bowl bouncers..........................Then u know what should happen & exactly that happened

  • on August 27, 2012, 19:34 GMT

    Bhajji was a great spinner but not now.. right now Ashwin is in proper way and his temparament as a spinner is appreciable.. Let him get carried on with the same spirit so that he'll be a lethal weapon for the England team..Don't tel weak oppositions, got thrashed in Australia.. He was better in stats compared to bhajji in australia.. I like bhajji as he was a match winner. But we need Ashwin also for the next batch of Indian team.. He'll be leading as a spinning allrounder in coming years..

  • on August 27, 2012, 17:42 GMT

    Everyone here are biased. Just agree that AShwin s bowling well. He s an Indian too even though he s from the south.

  • indianzen on August 27, 2012, 17:26 GMT

    Waiting for England and looking forward for a good series. but now they have thrown out their best fella KP, who plays well in India.. sure to struggle...

  • Kirk-at-Lords on August 27, 2012, 17:20 GMT

    Alarm bells should be going off in the English dressing rooms. Unless KP and Bopara come back into the frame, England in their current form will not be much better off than NZ in India. Strauss, if he remains in the XI, which seems likely at this stage, appears a walking wicket. The debutantes Bairstow and Taylor could well be all at sea, at least in the early matches. Cook, Trott and Bell must be in top form to handle the spin twins, plus the occasional incision from the wily Zaheer & the quick Yadav. How quickly can they recover from their failures against South Africa? It may come down to keeper Prior, spinner Swann, and a bit of Broad with the bat, but how far can dashers take you on a spinning, spiitting dustbowl at Ahmedabad or Mumbai? The storm clouds that have troubled the English all summer could end up raining on the poms in a different fashion via the flighted deliveries of Ashwin & Ojha.

  • pankajkumarsingh on August 27, 2012, 15:36 GMT

    @KiwiRocker- As an Indian fan, no matter how pinching your comments are - deep down, I know you are right. To even bring Kumble-Harbhajan in this write-up (even remotely) is an insult to Kumble-Harbhajan combo. Ashwin was trashed in England not too long ago. India has the weakest spin attack since its inception as a criccket team. No matter how great these statistic look, they mean nothing. To me - Virat (and Raina to an extent) is my only hope in post Sachin-Dravid-Laxman-Sehwag era.

  • Dubious on August 27, 2012, 15:28 GMT

    @screamingeagle: you mustn't watch much cricket if you think Australia and England prepare fast tracks--at least exclusively. And seeing as how Australia and England were the first Test playing nations, I dare to suggest that that is how wickets are supposed to be prepared. But, generally I think that Australia and England prepare fair pitches that are intended to last the full five days. For the first few days they offer pace and bounce (or seam in England) and in the last few days they offer turn for the spinner/s. And speaking for Australia, there have wickets that have traditionally been spinner friendly, like Sydney and Adelaide.

  • MunafAhmed811 on August 27, 2012, 13:23 GMT

    If Anderson/Broad had taken this number of wickets in England under cloud they would have been called GREATEST ever. Its a different issue that outside England Broad gets smacked for 6 sixes and tins of run and Anderson calls in sick reasonable early in series to escape bieng plundered. The only genuine bowlers today are the SA bowlers and in past used to the Aussie bowlers of past who performed all around globe.

  • on August 27, 2012, 11:31 GMT

    I would like to see how both react when they bowl to attacking batsmen wiling to use their feet.

  • CandidIndian on August 27, 2012, 11:22 GMT

    Real test will be against England later this year,NZ didn't have any kind of strategy against these bowlers they were just running for cover.England wont surrender like that ,they will come with better plans and preparation.Lets not judge book by its cover,especially Ashwin ,he has been dangerous against weaker teams but has not yet done well against top quality test team,he was poor in Australia,lets see what he does in big series against England.

  • on August 27, 2012, 10:27 GMT

    ashwin has played only 7 tests, even the first test series, he was the man of the series, he is a champion bowler, in his bowling he had lot of variation and techniques, then he learnt nw doosra also. surely he is the next muralidaran, dnt critisize him

  • chapathishot on August 27, 2012, 10:16 GMT

    I think England will struggle big time ,worse than India did in England .Bairstow was clueless against the spinners on his last visit

  • Daveptee on August 27, 2012, 10:01 GMT

    A lot of people are missing the points here: 1. Helpful tracks don't make a bowler or batsman better ,they may help improve their stats.Of course, great players tend to do even better on such tracks.

    2.Historically, countries including Pakistan that have a better overall test record than India , have won more matches abroad and that has not benn because of their spinners , but fast bowlers......UAE counts as home turf for Pakistan....,

  • Nutcutlet on August 27, 2012, 9:35 GMT

    Partnerships, like this emerging Ashwin/Ojha double act, have a special niche in cricket history. Broadly, it seems to me, there are three types of duo that, in the fullness of time, become inseparable in the minds of those that know the history of the game:the opening bats (Hobbs/ Sutcliffe; Hutton/Washbrook, etc.) the opening bowlers (Lilly/ Thommo; Lindwall/Miller; Trueman/Statham, etc.) & the spin-twins (Laker/ Lock; Bedi/ Chandr'khar & so on). In all cases there is a complementary balance of skills & temperaments. Here Ashwin received the plaudits, but the part played by Ojha in restricting the release scoring from the other end, effectively starved the NZ bats & their dismissals were really a combined effort. A great/ really good Test team contains these double acts & their effectiveness is one multiplied by the other, not a simple addition. They will test Eng bats for sure later in the year & it will be good watch & see if Eng bats have any answers after recent lessons in UAE.

  • on August 27, 2012, 8:59 GMT

    Waiting for England to arrive , that will be a good series. but now they have thrown out their best batsman KP, who plays well in the subcontinent, they might struggle a bit

  • on August 27, 2012, 8:50 GMT

    Ashwin as an overall package is good-he can bat a bit.But to term his a successor to Bhajji is a bit too early.I fully appreciate if he does this against proper opposition.Till then there is a big question mark.Never always go by stats.We are jumping too far ahead in praising him.I reiterate this is the worst NZ team to have ever visited India as far as my life span goes.

  • screamingeagle on August 27, 2012, 8:41 GMT

    @davepeetee, we prepare spinning tracks the same way aussies and poms prepare fast tracks. if you cannot play on these tracks, too bad. deal with it. we do not ask you to make spinning tracks in those parts, do we?

  • Full-Blooded-Wallop on August 27, 2012, 8:26 GMT

    @kiwirocker: Ojha didn't play against eng and aus and ashwin played in australia only..managing 9 wkts in 3 matches. Atleast do a bit of research before commenting!

  • mathewjohn2176 on August 27, 2012, 8:20 GMT

    Posted by KiwiRocker- on (August 27 2012, 04:58 AM GMT) Australia cleaned this Pakistan team 9-0 in australia in 2010 ,,which includes the great ajmal who got hammered all over the Pak.Except UAE dustbowls,let him perform in eng and Australia.Just by winning few series in UAE, your comments are unwarranted.You seems to be deluded that in Asia cup,your Pakistan bowlers couldn't defend 320 runs against india. ROFL.

  • kingcobra85 on August 27, 2012, 7:21 GMT

    To all Bhajii fans its not like Bhajji didnt play against New zealand and if he is better than Ashwin why hasnt he have a better figure than Ashwin against New Zealand ? Harbhajan doesnt even have 10 wicket haul against New Zealand.

  • on August 27, 2012, 6:46 GMT

    Jadeja can bowl as well as Ojha and is a better bat. Against NZ and WI on home wickets, Ojha is geting wickets on surfaces where even Michael Clarke gets wickets. That is nothing. Ashwin could not turn the ball in Oz but he is good on home wickets. Ojha is not even good here, overseas he will get thrashed.

  • rahulcricket007 on August 27, 2012, 6:31 GMT

    TO BE FAIR . IT IS BECAUSE OF WEAK OPPOSITION (WI , NZ) . IF ASHWIN -OJHA REPEAT THEIR PERORMANCES AGAINST ENG , AUS SERIES LATER THEN I WOULD DEFINTELY RATE THEM AS A LETHAL DUO .

  • chancricfan on August 27, 2012, 5:16 GMT

    @Davepete: Just statsguru the averages of the GREAT fast bowlers in India, you will know what it takes to be a good bowler atleast. And did I read Ponting's name there by mistake or is that a typo from you. Good player of spin. Harbhajan has reached chennai ROFL from Jalandhar.

  • KiwiRocker- on August 27, 2012, 4:58 GMT

    What is all this hype about? It is getting very tiring reading all this praise and so called magic Indian spinners have done against the mighty New Zealand cricket team. 60 wickets in four test matches is great but against whom? Fact remains that India lost 15-0 in England and AUstralia and ranked in lower half of ICC test rankings. Now you can create a storm in tea cup by jumping to conclusions and declaring that Ashwin is next Saeed Ajmal but reality is that man failed badly in Australia and was taken to cleaners by Pakistani batsmen in Asia cup. This is a type of journalism that creates too many expectations on promising players. Please let Ashwin and co prove themselves in testing conditions against quality batsmen and then start raving these big praise articles. New Zealand is a low ranked cricket team and we hardly even get a mention of black caps on TV in New Zealand. Ashwin was tried and tested against England and Australia and he failed and so goes for Ojha! now wait for next!

  • ssenthil on August 27, 2012, 4:58 GMT

    It should be Goodbye H Singh, he has played almost 3 years without performing in Test side, had India dropped him after his poor performances in 2009 itself, we would have had a good spinners going to England and Australia. R Ashwin and P Ojha not yet tested against Tough teams but the performance suggests that they don't do as bad as H Singh did against weak and weakest teams as well. I think time for India to play I Pathan in place of Zak and say good bye to Zak as well.

  • Fast_Track_Bully on August 27, 2012, 4:33 GMT

    @ Hassaan Yasin. yes, the same way when Salman But and Umar Akmals compared to Laxman and Dravid.

  • CricEshwar on August 27, 2012, 4:16 GMT

    Guys, be a little appreciative here. The article is about the staggering statistic acknowledging it was against weaker teams. Point is they have performed here. Don't rue about their future performances against AUS or ENG or on green pitches. Yes, in India we make spin friendly pitches. Does any of you in real life play to your strengths or weakness? FYI, the current pitch was not a dust bowl.

  • on August 27, 2012, 4:01 GMT

    @ binojpeter..ajmal better than ashwin...ROFL...on the top of that u are saying herath is a spinner ..i thought he is a left arm slow bowler...

  • SanjivAwesome on August 27, 2012, 1:23 GMT

    A well written article. Possibly written in the exuberance of post-performance. But hey, it is a good read. I feel that touring teams need to feel the heat of the spinning wickets just like India feels it on the green tracks upon touring. This is what keeps Tests interesting. I keep thinking, every Test series, will they adjust to the alien conditions? Sadly, the answer recently appears to be No - except for SA in England! Now that was a super-terrific Test achievement by SA. I wonder what it will take for touring countries to master local conditions.

  • on August 27, 2012, 1:21 GMT

    @Hassaan Yasin Thats funny coz even as an Indian I wouldnt dream to compare them with those Pakistani legends, They were at a different level ! Ishant has a lot to learn since he is just 23. But, I do hope he can be atleast half as successful as Waqar or Wasim was :-)

  • Daveptee on August 27, 2012, 1:19 GMT

    Big wonder, India can benefit more by preparing fast and bouncy pitches,not dustbowls

  • Daveptee on August 27, 2012, 1:17 GMT

    Big wonder, there are , players from other countries including South Africa, Australia and England who play spin quite well...in fact Kallis, Ponting,Pietersen, Amla are just a few names........bowlers like Steyn, Murali, Kumble,Warne, Akram are great because they have succeeded outside their country as well. You know very well what happens to Ashwin when he is up against quality batsmen in test matches particularly outside India.Anderson and Broad are different cases,they may thrive only in home conditions and that is the difference between good and great.....Ashwin at best is a good limited overs bowler, any Ranji side in India has batsmen who play better spin than NZ

  • bigwonder on August 26, 2012, 23:28 GMT

    @Daveptee, it sounds like you have no idea what spin bowling is. I can say the same about Morkel, Anderson and Lee. They can take wickets on green and bouncy pitches but as soon as they are in sub-continent they are useless. Instead of criticizing the spinners and the pitch, it would help the bouncy pitch countries to focus on learning how to play spin. Just learning how to play short balls is not going to win you a world-cup.

  • binojpeter on August 26, 2012, 23:12 GMT

    I am an Indian fan, but we have to acknowledge that both have not come up against real batsmen. Future series with England and Australia is going to be a real test for them. English batsmen have already experience facing Ajmal (who I reckon far better off-spinner than Ashwin) and Herath (who I reckon far better left arm spinner than Ojha). Only after those two series, I can say for sure how their standing is. But I am not for bringing back Harbhajan at this point. He was not among wickets during his last domestic competitions especially longer versions. He has to prove that he has rediscovered his wicket taking abilities, only then he need to be considered.

  • crindo77 on August 26, 2012, 23:10 GMT

    There we go again; the author should maybe wait till the whole home season, particularly the England one, is over? I was rather surprised to see Pragyan Ojha blow his own trumpet, complimenting his own performance. Agree with @grimmetfan and some others here entirely.This NZ team is no yardstick at all. It serves a " feel good" purpose. Saying that, I'm glad India performed predictably. Fielders around the bat when you have a lead of 300 with a shrieking partisan crowd is all very good, but Matt Prior, Eoin Morgan, Ponting, Clarke, Hussey etc coming after you, especially if your batting is struggling, under the pressures of threats of loss at home...Well, let's just wait and see. Narendra Hirwani will surely agree.

  • Jaggadaaku on August 26, 2012, 22:42 GMT

    We already knew how stronger they were in the previous two memorable and forgettable series for Indian fans as England and Australia. They both were poorly ineffective. It is home series and against one of the struggling teams today. NZ are at the 8th place on ICC table. They have just few points more than Bangladesh have. NZ's almost all batsmen average below 40 in their career. WI are the same as NZ. Besides Chanderpaul, no batsmen in WI team, not struggling these days. Besides Chanderpaul and Gayle, in WI team, all other batsmen average below 40 like NZ batsmen. Today, only ENG, SA, AUS, SL and IND teams are full of extraordinary batsmen, and they all average more than 40 in tests.

  • on August 26, 2012, 21:57 GMT

    I remember how the indians after Aus tour to Ind in 2008 were comparing Ishant and Zaheer Khan to Wasim and Waqar ROFL

  • Daveptee on August 26, 2012, 20:47 GMT

    This is nothing new.The duo will get wickets and hopefully India will win tests/series even against England and Australia at home,that's a given.However,they won't especially be much of a threat overseas .But who cares, prepare dust bowls and pile up huge scores,the opposition will crumble against your spinners....

  • on August 26, 2012, 20:42 GMT

    ashwin has some tough test to face in the future! he has use his off break and arm ball as his stock deliveries! he shud rely more on drift like swann only then he can be successful everywhere! i wud ask him not to use carrom ball cuz it causes him to stray in his line and length! he cud use it against the tailenders in tests and in one day games but not in test! more patience! only time will tell! lets hope he doesnt carried away and keep his down and focus on his game!

  • grimmettfan on August 26, 2012, 19:46 GMT

    Let's be honest with ourselves here. This NZ side would not be able to beat the Mumbai or Karnataka Ranji teams in Indian conditions. Let's see what Ashwin and Ojha are able to do against proper opposition.

  • Sakthiivel on August 26, 2012, 19:28 GMT

    These guys are sure for the future. But BCCI should not mess up by bringing Bhaji back.

  • on August 26, 2012, 18:35 GMT

    I have read several articles by "Abhishek Purohit" and he is one of the very unbiased and knowledgeable writers of Cricinfo. This article is one of the best from him since it pictures an unique perspective of cricket, the bowling partnership. For long we are used to only consider the batting partnerships, the author and above all the subject of this article, the spinner Ashwin bring in a new perspective of bowling partnership to limelight in cricket. Initially when Ashwin replaced my modern day spin bowling hero, Harbhajan I was devastated but this bloke by sheer merit has cemented his place as India's spin bowling spearhead after Anil Kumble. It is also highly encouraging to see Ashwin praising his fellow spinner's contribution openly instead of basking on his own glory. As cricinfo readers, it is time to appreciate Ashwin's good nature and temperament and show more nationalistic pride and patriotism than to tear us apart by man made boundaries of state, religion, language, caste etc.

  • on August 26, 2012, 17:15 GMT

    no chance against poor NZ helped them but ashwin is only good ag.. poor teas like W.I and NZ.. bHAJJI MUCH BETTER THAN HIM...

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  • on August 26, 2012, 17:15 GMT

    no chance against poor NZ helped them but ashwin is only good ag.. poor teas like W.I and NZ.. bHAJJI MUCH BETTER THAN HIM...

  • on August 26, 2012, 18:35 GMT

    I have read several articles by "Abhishek Purohit" and he is one of the very unbiased and knowledgeable writers of Cricinfo. This article is one of the best from him since it pictures an unique perspective of cricket, the bowling partnership. For long we are used to only consider the batting partnerships, the author and above all the subject of this article, the spinner Ashwin bring in a new perspective of bowling partnership to limelight in cricket. Initially when Ashwin replaced my modern day spin bowling hero, Harbhajan I was devastated but this bloke by sheer merit has cemented his place as India's spin bowling spearhead after Anil Kumble. It is also highly encouraging to see Ashwin praising his fellow spinner's contribution openly instead of basking on his own glory. As cricinfo readers, it is time to appreciate Ashwin's good nature and temperament and show more nationalistic pride and patriotism than to tear us apart by man made boundaries of state, religion, language, caste etc.

  • Sakthiivel on August 26, 2012, 19:28 GMT

    These guys are sure for the future. But BCCI should not mess up by bringing Bhaji back.

  • grimmettfan on August 26, 2012, 19:46 GMT

    Let's be honest with ourselves here. This NZ side would not be able to beat the Mumbai or Karnataka Ranji teams in Indian conditions. Let's see what Ashwin and Ojha are able to do against proper opposition.

  • on August 26, 2012, 20:42 GMT

    ashwin has some tough test to face in the future! he has use his off break and arm ball as his stock deliveries! he shud rely more on drift like swann only then he can be successful everywhere! i wud ask him not to use carrom ball cuz it causes him to stray in his line and length! he cud use it against the tailenders in tests and in one day games but not in test! more patience! only time will tell! lets hope he doesnt carried away and keep his down and focus on his game!

  • Daveptee on August 26, 2012, 20:47 GMT

    This is nothing new.The duo will get wickets and hopefully India will win tests/series even against England and Australia at home,that's a given.However,they won't especially be much of a threat overseas .But who cares, prepare dust bowls and pile up huge scores,the opposition will crumble against your spinners....

  • on August 26, 2012, 21:57 GMT

    I remember how the indians after Aus tour to Ind in 2008 were comparing Ishant and Zaheer Khan to Wasim and Waqar ROFL

  • Jaggadaaku on August 26, 2012, 22:42 GMT

    We already knew how stronger they were in the previous two memorable and forgettable series for Indian fans as England and Australia. They both were poorly ineffective. It is home series and against one of the struggling teams today. NZ are at the 8th place on ICC table. They have just few points more than Bangladesh have. NZ's almost all batsmen average below 40 in their career. WI are the same as NZ. Besides Chanderpaul, no batsmen in WI team, not struggling these days. Besides Chanderpaul and Gayle, in WI team, all other batsmen average below 40 like NZ batsmen. Today, only ENG, SA, AUS, SL and IND teams are full of extraordinary batsmen, and they all average more than 40 in tests.

  • crindo77 on August 26, 2012, 23:10 GMT

    There we go again; the author should maybe wait till the whole home season, particularly the England one, is over? I was rather surprised to see Pragyan Ojha blow his own trumpet, complimenting his own performance. Agree with @grimmetfan and some others here entirely.This NZ team is no yardstick at all. It serves a " feel good" purpose. Saying that, I'm glad India performed predictably. Fielders around the bat when you have a lead of 300 with a shrieking partisan crowd is all very good, but Matt Prior, Eoin Morgan, Ponting, Clarke, Hussey etc coming after you, especially if your batting is struggling, under the pressures of threats of loss at home...Well, let's just wait and see. Narendra Hirwani will surely agree.

  • binojpeter on August 26, 2012, 23:12 GMT

    I am an Indian fan, but we have to acknowledge that both have not come up against real batsmen. Future series with England and Australia is going to be a real test for them. English batsmen have already experience facing Ajmal (who I reckon far better off-spinner than Ashwin) and Herath (who I reckon far better left arm spinner than Ojha). Only after those two series, I can say for sure how their standing is. But I am not for bringing back Harbhajan at this point. He was not among wickets during his last domestic competitions especially longer versions. He has to prove that he has rediscovered his wicket taking abilities, only then he need to be considered.