India news February 27, 2014

Ashwin not being handled properly - Maninder Singh

ESPNcricinfo staff

'Everything has gone haywire with Ashwin'

R Ashwin has lost his way in international cricket due to a combination of experimenting too much with his bowling and not receiving the right guidance, former India spinner Maninder Singh believes. If he is to regain his best form and live up to his "match-winning" potential, the BCCI has to step in quickly and get India's bowlers the right coaches, Maninder said in an interview with ESPNcricinfo.

Ashwin had showcased a new bowling action in India's opening Asia Cup match, on Wednesday, and what he saw worried him, Maninder said. "He has been trying so many variations. It generally happens that when you try too many things then you lose your originality and that is what is happening, and that is the worry for me," he said. "For me, Ashwin is a match-winner. He can win you matches whether they are Test matches or ODIs or T20s.

"But everything has gone haywire with him. I don't know what the bowling coach has been doing with him, and what the main coach and captain have been doing with him. If I was around, I would not have allowed [his bowling to slip] that so far that he had to change his action."

Last year Ashwin became the fastest bowler in more than 80 years to 100 Test wickets, and received the Polly Umrigar Award, the highest award handed out by the BCCI to a current player. However, on India's overseas travels his effectiveness often falls away and he recently went wicketless in several matches. Subsequently, he lost his place as the primary Test spinner to Ravindra Jadeja during the South Africa series in December.

Ashwin's problems stem from the fact that he has adopted a defensive mindset, Maninder said. "Someone has got to tell him that you were picked in the Indian side because you showed that intent that you wanted to get wickets in the IPL, in 20-overs games," he said. "Then you come into a Test match and after the Australia series [last year], I read somewhere, he said 'my role was to restrict'. Now who has given him that idea? It's the captain.

"So I think he is not being handled properly. Somebody who came into the Indian side because he had the capability and the urge to take wickets, he was eager to take wickets in 20-overs cricket, becomes defensive in Test cricket where you are supposed to take wickets … Something is going wrong somewhere, someone is giving him the wrong advice."

Getting the right bowling coach, and at the earliest, would be key to Ashwin and the other India bowlers' fortunes, Maninder said. "The BCCI has to wake up and get a proper bowling coach who can assist our bowlers. It's not only Ashwin, Jadeja, you know he has got his limitations but he is real [talent] himself as well. You've got to have a proper guide for these kids, who can tell them what is right and what is not.

"Someone has got to keep talking to these kids and stop them from thinking negatively. What needs to be urgently addressed is what is happening with the bowling coach. We had Bhuvneshwar Kumar bowling an Australian length; he's someone who pitches the ball up and takes wickets, but he has stopped swinging the ball. The urgent requirement is to look for somebody, a bowling coach who can guide our bowlers properly. And get a proper spinner guide for the spinners, we don't want to lose them quickly."


Devashish Fuloria, who was on ESPNcricinfo's ball-by-ball commentary for the Bangladesh game, explained what was different about Ashwin on Wednesday:

During his three-plus years for India, Ashwin has bowled conventional offspin with a carom ball, the one that goes the other way. He has also experimented with his run-up, often using the pause just before the release as a surprise option. Another variation has been bowling with a round-arm action.

On Wednesday against Bangladesh, however, he produced a completely new-look action - and his wearing a full-sleeved jersey added to the sense of change. The approach to the crease was the same, but his release had a remarkable similarity to Sunil Narine's final push. For starters, the bowling action was visibly more front-on. Instead of the fingers going over the ball to impart velocity - and revs - to the ball, Ashwin was cutting the ball sideways with a quick snap of the wrist.

Recently, Ashwin has struggled with his lines. In his first spell in Fatullah, it can be said that he bowled with much-improved control, regularly tossing up deliveries outside off and getting them to deviate off the pitch. Even when he drifted on to the pads, he was still managing better control on the flight and dip - the components that he seemed to have lost in limited-overs cricket at least. The amount of spin ranged between sharp to non-existent, and those were the only variations he used in that spell.

He bowled his carom ball a few times in his second spell, but the offspinner delivered with his original action was not used during the day.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ronak on March 4, 2014, 19:40 GMT

    we need sehwag outside india still he has in him if bcci supports him , kamran khan should be given a chance gambhir yuvraj bring them back.....Rohit sharma ..raydu...jadeja ...ashwin should be drop and let them play ranji matches perform exceptionally well then pick them if needed otherwise bcci just wasting money on wrong players i guess ...ojha , mishra ... are just warming benches .........

  • TR on March 4, 2014, 19:09 GMT

    It is not just Ashwin. Dhoni does not know how to attack via bowling & fielding. He knows how attack via batting only. How many times Ashwin or any Ind bowler got both fwd shortleg and silly midoff. ? Why cant we have both?? especially since Ashwin bowls both off & leg breaks. Ask Prasanna or Bedi and they will tell how often they had the fielders crouching close to the batsman. I still remember (the radio commentary) when Chandra gave away 2 or 3 fours in one over and Wadekar kept the same field and gave him one more over. Chandra sent back two batsmen in that next over against WI. Clive Lloyd clean bowled. Or ask Kallicharan on Venkat's straighter ones.

    Dhoni should be shown the videos of such matches. And those legends are still there to help as bowling coaches. No point in moving a fielder to deep point immediately after one short ball was cut for four. We want to encourage the batsman to cut again. Thats how spinners get wickets.

  • KISH on March 1, 2014, 13:31 GMT

    I don't know what is wrong. Ashwin has been good and is still good. When did Ashwin started bowling bad? I don't see it. May be he didn't get many wickets in the seaming wickets overseas. Which spinner does?

  • Dummy4 on March 1, 2014, 7:56 GMT

    Pls don't pick him outside SC......replace him with Rasool or Kuldeep as early as possible. My team for ENG tour, Dhawan, Vijay/Gambhir, Pujara, Kohli, Rahane, Rohit, Dhoni, Jadeja, Shami, Ishant, Yadav, Aaron/Rishi D, Pandey, Saha, Rasool, Aparajith.

    If Aaron remains fully fit he should be picked,can be very much handy on those conditions with good pace and a bit of accuracy. Rishi Dhawan must be considered for the balance of the team.

  • Dummy4 on March 1, 2014, 4:43 GMT

    @GRVJPR... I really appreciate ur comments dear... u have just spot on.....u can made comments but on the field it is different. Ashwin is really a good spinner and better performer. He tries hard when he is on the field with his bat and when he is bowling. One thing is true that dhoni takes defensive field set when indian bowers are bowling. He tries to restrict run rather than picking up wickets because he thinks Indian batters can win matches with their abilities if his bowlers can restrict them even around 300-320 while playing in sub continent pitches. u can't blame him blindly for that since if indian bowlers earlier given a attacking field they used to bowl a juicy one in an over without of any commonsense. It is due to that dhoni used to take defensive field set. It is because of dhoni's field setting India caused these kind of woes. Indian bowers are also good in pitches where they can extract some assistance from the pitches. They proved that at times.

  • siddhartha on February 28, 2014, 10:09 GMT

    Ashwin's 100 wicket in 18 tests was absolute joke. He achieved that by playing against novice Aussie,Kiwi and Indies batsmen in doctored pitches. He got one chance to prove his worth against England but he was a massive failure in that series. Aussies have already decoded him in last ODI series and they marked the start of the demise of Ashwin. I was pretty sure that Ashwin will not survive this abroad tours specially the England and Australia tours and here we are two months into the 2014 and he has just one international wicket and the nightmares in England and Australia have not even started

  • Android on February 28, 2014, 9:07 GMT

    fairfan70. Indian bowlers bowled out NZ for 100 and 90 in the last two overseas Tests and you say they can't bowl outside India.

  • Arulprakash on February 28, 2014, 7:58 GMT

    Two new balls and new rules isnt helping spin bowlers. Only if you can bowl darts you can succeed in ODI but there is no excuse in Tests

  • GAURAV on February 28, 2014, 7:29 GMT

    Over the to reaction are well in Fashion It seems. I see nothing wrong in India's bowling. In fact teams like south africa and New Zealand have killed spin bowling by creating unresponsive tracks.

  • siddhartha on February 28, 2014, 7:28 GMT

    India needs to start preferring players who are doing continuously well rather than selecting the player just on the basis of IPL. No doubt Mayank Sharma did well last IPL. But did he really deserved a place ahead of someone like Rishi Dhawan who dominated last year first class matches? Binny gets picked for NZ tour. He gets one game. He was did not get the opportunity to bat as Ashwin was sent higher in the order. And in bowling he gets just one over. And then he gets dropped from the next match. On the other hand Ashwin gets to play the whole series and what he does? takes just one wicket giving away 227 runs through out the whole series.(he was a massive failure in the series before this as well)When Mishra was selected for a full tour last time he took 18 wickets in 5ODIs.Frankly speaking this heavily biased selection procedures is hurting team India in a big way.