India news August 18, 2013

Ashwin adding to his variations

ESPNcricinfo staff

Having been rested from India's tour of Zimbabwe, R Ashwin, the India offspinner, has been working on adding to his bowling variations. "I have the arm-ball, the carrom ball, and the under-cutter but I am developing a flipper that pitches just short of a length and skids on," he told The Hindu. "I am also trying to get the carrom ball that spins into the right-hander. This will add a new dimension to my bowling."

Since his debut in 2011, Ashwin has played 16 Tests and taken 92 wickets at an average of 28.53. In 58 ODIs, the bowler has 80 wickets at an average of 30.83. He attributes his success to sizing up batsmen and ensuring their strengths are kept in check and weaknesses exploited. Against batsmen like Chris Gayle for example, Ashwin said he was focussed on denying the batsman width and room.

"If you toss one up and draw him [Gayle] into a stroke and then pull it back a little, because of the revolutions on the ball, instead of clearing either long-on or long-off, he could be caught at mid-off or mid-on."

Against Australia earlier this year, Ashwin finished as the highest wicket-taker in the four-match series, with 29 wickets in eight innings at an average of 20.41. He said the trick to getting good players of spin, like Michael Clarke, out was in understanding the batsman's technique.

"Clarke is a good player of spin, can step out or hang back," he said. "But then, he defends with hard hands. The trick is to make him play back to a ball that is not really short."

A spinner needs to utilise everything at his disposal to set up a batsman, a fact Ashwin has employed to good effect. Enticing the batsmen into awkward positions and causing trouble to their balance at the crease has also helped the offspinner pick up wickets.

"I came round the wicket and got the left-handed Michael Hussey to drive in the Melbourne Test. Then I held one back, he went for the drive, and edged," he said. "I also bowled one that turned away from Shaun Marsh and then got him with an under-cutter.

"When I come wide of the crease to a right-hander, he is looking for something outside the off-stump. If I then send down one on off and middle, his head could falter and his drive could be uppish."

Another variation that Ashwin had added was the wider arm delivery that helped him get side-spin. "Someone with a high-arm action like me will get more over-spin than side-spin. Graeme Swann bowls a lot wider with his arm than I do, so he achieves plenty of side-spin. I also bowl the wider arm delivery to impart side spin these days," he said.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ramya on August 21, 2013, 6:06 GMT

    @Srini_Chennai - Successful people will have as many haters as lovers. Most of these Ashwin bashers are guys who support other spinners who may not feature in the playing XI. MSD has many haters, so did Steve Waugh & Ricky Ponting in their peak! Thats how the world goes....

    Genuine cricket lovers, will be able to see an optimal viewpoint on all cricketers. Rohit Sharma is being hated by many for this reason as many feel that he is being given a long leash... May be true, but there is no denying the talent.

    With Ashwin it is even more disheartening as this guy has proved beyond a doubt how good he is. Yet, I can see many cricket lovers, here who see the rationale behind the selectors, the captain and the team having faith in Ashwin.

    I wish Ashwin the best of luck to surpass 100 wickets in Test cricket very soon! Go on man, make India proud!

  • Srinivasan on August 21, 2013, 4:22 GMT

    Looking at the comments from my fellow Indian fans, one would get an impression that Ashwin is playing for Pakistan. Can't believe why so much hatred. Same for Rohit Sharma as well. Ashwin didn't do well in his 1st abroad tour, people are already writing him off!! Why can't we allow these youngsters to learn their trade in alien conditions and fully back them in good as well as bad times? Irrespective of what happens in SA tour, the current players are the best we have and we should back them to succeed. Go India!

  • VENKATESA on August 21, 2013, 4:01 GMT

    It would be a very gud idea for Ashwin to work more on his fitmess as well because he seems to move very slowly in the field & while running between d wkts as well & often gets run-out..Too slow a mover for his age i thought.. Also his test match batting seems to have gone down a couple of notches in the home test series against England & Australia..Not being over critical or biased against him but only a general & fair opinion..!

  • Ramya on August 20, 2013, 17:53 GMT

    @ ssenthil - well said mate - agree with u to the t.

    @the_blue_android - If u saw SRJ's bowling performances it has always been in tandem with Ashwin's bowling and MSD's fielding positions. Take these two men out of contention, u saw the real SRJ in Zimbabwe! Make no mistakes, I am a big fan of SRJ frm his IPL debut days, but u can't be blind mate!

    If u had watched the WI series, the matches that MSD did not play, u cud have seen that Virat allowed Ashwin to set his own fields. If u watch matches closely - u can c Ashwin and MSD discussing plenty whn he is placed in the slips.

    Accept it, Ashwin has a logical cricketing brain, thats why he wants to keep evolving. PPl are comparing him with Mendis, which is very wrong. If Mendis had evolved as and when ppl started reading him, he wud have been the nxt best thing for SL after Muralitharan.

    I am reminded of a Dravid's TV commentry, where he mentioned tht Ashwin is largehearted & a fighter like Kumble viz needed for Indian cricket!

  • Dummy4 on August 20, 2013, 17:29 GMT

    i dont get why everyone pointing out only ashwin for debace which happened some time ago...what did the other players do in that series only dravid and to some extent dhoni did well there...werent the others at fault...and u cant expect a spinner to get 5 wicket hauls in seamer condition is the fast bowlers who have to tae majrity wicket and none did...and not to mention the bowlers didnt even have enough runs to give any sort of a chance...instead of only blaming ashwin please analyze what others did in that of now ashwin is the most trusted one by dhoni...even if he doesnt take wickets he restricts the run flow and eventually makes the batsmen play wrong shots...dont be bias toward him because he plays for csk or TN...and i dont see why u guys point out csk csk....2 times champions 3 times runner up and eventually the team will have good players...just take the example of real madrid and barca for spain...

  • Dummy4 on August 20, 2013, 15:58 GMT

    So your argument now is that Ashwin the bowler cannot perform in Seamer friendly conditions. Cool, lets get this straight, You and me both know the guy got brains. You got problem cause He working hard to trouble batsmen more with more variations, You working hard bashing him. The South African Tour will be very helpful for him and Jadeja. Look for any bowling unit to succeed you need different bowlers doing different tasks.

    For eg: Ishant gets bounce, Umesh got pace, Bhuvi got swing, Ashwin out-thinks the batsmen, Jadeja sticks to basics. Wish Zak was fit. We got Raina, Yuvi, Kohli too has part time bowling to say the least. Add Dhoni's brain in this, We got a really potent attack if any 2 bowlers click.

    So let the guy do what he is doing, he knows why he is in the team. Plus you know his batting is good enough to survive the bowling outside asia.


  • Senthil on August 20, 2013, 8:09 GMT

    @the_blue_android, I wonder which India vs Australia series you were watching? The rest of the world seen Ashwin as the leading wicket taker and as well the Player of the series. Even CI have the same detail in the scorecard here: He had already taken 92 wickets from just 16 tests. So lets be patient with him for few overseas series where any Indian spinner generally struggled even till their last series there. Unless batsman score enough runs you can't expect a Spinner to run through opponents in seamer friendly conditions. So just wait for SA test series. Limited overs cricket is altogether is different. Note on Jadeja as a spinner, As we have already seen in WI and Zim, Jadeja the bowler is below ordinary without Dhoni as captain, he doesn't know how to set field for each batsman yet. After Zak, Ashwin is the only man set fielding for his own bowling, that proves something to who has brain and can use it for thinking.

  • Senthil on August 20, 2013, 6:26 GMT

    Some people think they know more than the guy who has got 92 test wickets in 16 matches! Giving advice like they're all experts. Ashwin is trashed by some just because he plays for CSK and TN. Even if he gets 20 wickets in a Test, some will claim others are better than him. That's just the reality of playing for champion teams. Jadeja is bowling well, but the reason he's getting wickets in Tests is because Ashwin is very hard to go after or take chances against. Ashwin is a very intelligent operator. Make no mistake about this - India's premier spinner at the moment is Ashwin. His captain knows this better than any of you keyboard geniuses, so let him do his job.

  • VaRUN on August 20, 2013, 5:36 GMT

    Ravindra Jadeja is certainly a better spinner than Ashwin. Jadeja was easily out bowling Ashwin in the home series against the clueless Aussies. Ashwin's theater will never work in England, Aus, SA. Spinners need patience and good line and length on seamer friendly tracks which Ashwin cannot do. As far his success at home is concerned, I think anyone with some finger strength, who can rip the ball can get the job done..Raina too.

  • Dummy4 on August 20, 2013, 1:36 GMT

    When Bhajji struggled to perform and Ojha and Mishra have also failed to give any hopes, Ashwin debuted in test matches with a bang. Became India's frontline spinner in such short duration. He is thinking and more frequently rediscovering himself. when India was in trouble even in spin department adding to the woeful pace department, Ashwin is the one who gave some breath to the Indian bowling. He will surely go along way. People, pl stop blabbering he was not good in Aus, not done against Eng, etc.,