India news June 4, 2014

'Holding role is not my strength' - Ashwin

ESPNcricinfo staff

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."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ramya on June 7, 2014, 1:18 GMT

    @ Known Strangerr - Did u actually read this article mate?! Ashwin has clearly mentioned tht he was asked to bowl defensively! You cant bowl defensive and take wickets - he simply did wht his team management wanted him to do! Everyone knows tht he is better off when he is attacking the batsmen. If he does tht, wickets will come! MSD & Fletcher both have to come out of this defensive mindset first!

    If u are talking abt IPL, then Dale Steyn was beaten black and blue, wud u call him a below par bowler because of tht?! In IPL, Maxwell was the only one who repeatedly took Ashwin for a ride, but I think Ash had the last laugh by taking his wicket in the last match played. If u chk, Ash had the most decent figures for tht match as well! He is an agressive chap who hates not coming on top - tht mate, is the best quality for any bowler! I like tht in him, and wish him well in the English tour - maybe we will see a highly effective Ashwin this time!

  • Dummy on June 6, 2014, 9:41 GMT

    ashwin is still not better than ajmal

  • vas on June 5, 2014, 11:50 GMT

    @Presynaras, well said. I'm a huge fan of Ashwin. He is strong mined an a confident young man. In the first test in SA he was unlucky not to get a couple of wickets. Second test was played on a spinning tract and Dhoni should've played both Ashwin and Jadeja. He will mature with experience in foreign tours. Hope he gets to play in Test matches in England.

  • Prashanth on June 5, 2014, 11:17 GMT

    People have to be patient with Ashwin. Yes he wasn't great in that one Test in SA, but I still think India should have persisted with him. Only by playing more matches away, will Ashwin be a good bowler in foreign conditions, as he is in Indian conditions. 100 wkts in 18 tests is no mean feat and he will do great wonders if dealt with patiently internationally. He has to be appreciated for his fighting spirit and confidence, the two being his prime plus points. People saying Harbhajan or Mishra should play ahead of him must remember 2011 where both were carted all over the park. Harbhajan, though looked dangerous in IPL, still got way less wkts than Ashwin and had given many runs as well. If not for Maxwell's treatment of Ashwin, Ashwin's economy rate would be below Bhajjis. And Ashwin is a terrific batsman against seam and he should play at number 6 with Rahane opening with either one of Vijay or Dhawan, based on their form. Believe in Ashwin, he will do great things.

  • Dummy4 on June 5, 2014, 5:36 GMT

    I don't think Ashwin should make statements like these since he hardly can backup e'm. All spinners do less in SA,Nz,Eng&Aus with the exception of Ajmal ofcourse. Ajmal also have some bad days but without a doubt he is the best spin bowler at the moment. Ashwin should stop tagging himself with high expectations bcoz he's piling a huge pressure to no-one but himself. Good bowlers don't talk-out loud bcoz we all have fantasies but not everyone is gona live up to e'm.

  • Chandra on June 4, 2014, 21:19 GMT

    Too much expectation and very less delivery in overseas tour. This is do or die tour for Ashwin's overseas credentials. If he does not perform overseas, then he would like Raju and other spinners who would play as 3rd spinner in India only.

  • Ashok on June 4, 2014, 20:15 GMT

    Ashwin's wkt. tally in Test matches played in India gives the impression of him being a great off spinner. But he has failed badly overseas where the wickets are not as responsive to spin. In England, a spinner has to be very accurate to succeed. Left arm spinners like Murali Karthik achieved lot of success. Going back further, Vinoo Mankad in the Lords test literally bowled unchanged to take 5 wkts for 192 runs in marathon 96 overs. Mankad was masterful & very accurate spinner who varied his flight, trajectory & speed while bowling in unhittable good length spot. Bapu Nadkarni was another LH spinner deadly accurate who bowled something like 28 maidens out of 32 in a Test match vs, England. Ashwin needs to take a page out of these spinners + English off spinners Laker, Swann, Illingworth - all excellent wkt. takers. See what they did right on English pitches. Indian spinners like Venkat, Prasanna & Chandra also did well. None of them bowled a carom ball but used their Heads skilfully!

  • Android on June 4, 2014, 18:52 GMT

    Someone in this comment section criticised Dhoni for his defensive mind set on foreign pitches, Imho what amazed me that how you humans fail to see that ground reality. Dhoni is not aggressive on foreign tours mainly coz of our bowlers inability to match up with those foreign pitches. No captain: yes no captain on planet earth can play aggressive with bowlers who cannot take 20 wickets in 5 days . including captains like Clarke, Smith etc. PERIOD

  • mahendra on June 4, 2014, 16:03 GMT

    I would choose Akshar Patel over Ashwin, we shouldn't keep picking guys that are not consistent. Make Ashwin 'work' his way back into the team, maybe then he won't take his place in the side for granted and try to be more consistent. We have 1.2billion people in a country known not for fast bowlers, but for spinners and R. Ashwin is the best spinner ? Look at the way he has been tonked like a schoolboy, And he expects to be playing the next match, HOW SAD.

  • Ashok on June 4, 2014, 13:12 GMT

    The 3 attributes for any good spinner are: Accuracy, Length & direction. If he pitches at the right spots consistently, success will come. An off spinner like Ashwin should focus on these 3 aspects first before trying to go overboard with "Doosra, Teesra, Carrom Ball" - all fancy terms. In 50's Ramadhin was called a "Mystery bowler" because he could bowl accurately his off spinners & he combined it well with a "mystery Ball" from thumb side of his hand which became a leg break along with a top spinner. But his forte was ability to bowl accurately. Ashwin should focus on the 3 attributes listed above first. Swann did splendidly. Jim Laker was a masterful off spinner with 19 wkts. in the oval Test. Both bowled accurately to their field. Indian Spinner Chandra did very well in England aided by phenomenal close catching by Solkar, Abid, Surti & Wadekar. When he was accurate he succeeded but punished when erratic. Untill Ashwin does this he will be an "Also Ran"- Its best to Walk the Talk!

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