'Holding role is not my strength' - Ashwin
Ahead of his first tour of England, R Ashwin has said he wants to revert to being an attacking bowler. Ashwin said the team management had used him in a holding role in previous overseas Tests, and said this wasn't his strength.
"I had a chat with a couple of people who have done well in England," Ashwin told the Hindustan Times. "A few interesting things have come out of it. Bowling in a way that they have been doing takes practice. I need to see if it is working for me and find ways to take wickets.
"There have been times where the team wanted me to hold an end up, which is not my strength. I would like to get back to my strength and start spinning the ball really hard and get batsmen out. In terms of strategy, I have a couple in my mind which I'll be working on."
Ashwin hasn't tasted too much success away from home so far, with only nine wickets in four Tests at an average of 74.77. After a wicketless first Test in South Africa, Ashwin was dropped, with Ravindra Jadeja replacing him for the second Test and remaining in the side as the only specialist spinner for the two Tests in New Zealand.
"There are various factors that determine performance, some of which, like luck, aren't in my hand," Ashwin said. "I have been working very hard on whatever is in my hand. Apart from hard work, I think patience is also required."
Ashwin's overseas struggles led Sunil Subramaniam, his former mentor, to criticise him in the media. Asked about this, Ashwin said he didn't know what led to the breakdown of relations between them.
"I think a coach must communicate with the player first," he said. "I don't know where we fell out. He was someone who was helping me. Whenever I needed help, I hired him. But with the tight international calendar, you don't get the time to go back to someone and the drawing board. I don't know where it comes from and you don't know who needs the publicity."
India haven't won a Test match away from home since that 2011 England tour, in which they lost the Test series 4-0. Ashwin said this wasn't playing on his mind.
"A lot of new guys have come in the team after the 2011 debacle. So that way it is going to be a fresh start," he said. "Besides, the experience of players like Gautam Gambhir will be really handy. As a whole, it is a great challenge. I am very optimistic."