India news June 4, 2014

'Holding role is not my strength' - Ashwin

ESPNcricinfo staff
27

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

  • ramz30380 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!

  • on June 6, 2014, 9:41 GMT

    ashwin is still not better than ajmal

  • ladycricfan 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.

  • Presynaras 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.

  • 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.

  • IndCricFan2013 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.

  • Nampally 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!

  • 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

  • gandabhai 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.

  • Nampally 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!

  • ramz30380 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!

  • on June 6, 2014, 9:41 GMT

    ashwin is still not better than ajmal

  • ladycricfan 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.

  • Presynaras 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.

  • 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.

  • IndCricFan2013 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.

  • Nampally 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!

  • 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

  • gandabhai 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.

  • Nampally 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!

  • on June 4, 2014, 12:14 GMT

    I still fill India should go with Jadeja ahead of ashwin in tests. Bhajji looked dangerous to ashwin. I guess ashwin has lost his way. If he gets wickets, it will be result of Jadeja bowling maidens from another end. To be harsh on ashwin, I don't see him frontline bowler who can get you break through. Luckily England is in building phase, he still can get few wickets. But Jadeja and ashwin at 7 and 8 can come handy with bat.

  • on June 4, 2014, 12:10 GMT

    What is not his strength is his bowling itself.. You saw the way Virender Sehwag took apart him and Jadeja in the 100 that he made against CSK.. That probably is not the best sample to look at.. England do lack a certain KP.. He may stilll go wicketless if they decide to play him out.. This guy and Jadeja both are not test quality spinners outside of the Subcontinent.. They can play the second or the third spinner's role in home tests.. Ojha can be included in this club.. These are routine finger spinners with no discernible flight variations.. Ashwin and Ojha have two trajectories while Jadeja has one.. This series will be decided by the Indian fast bowlers.. Going by the looks of it, we can safely assume that Ishant Sharma will start and probably do the lion's share of bowling with minimum results.. You cannot have a starting test 11 in which Ishant and Ashwin/Jadeja are two of your only four bowler set up.. India would do well to drop Rohit and play Aaron and start with 5 bowlers..

  • on June 4, 2014, 12:05 GMT

    @Satish Babu I agree with your points spinners learn as they more games no doubt but if you noticed ashwin's performance in recent past including IPL he was taken for runs coz of his line bowling leg stump line always wont do him any good.Murali Bhajji Ajmal everybody may have failed that doesnt mean he can continue playing if he fails.I am not for Ashwin's inclusion coz he can bat better if he is selected for batting in team better off taking a batsman than him.All I am saying if he evloves well and good else he needs to be replaced he cant take his position for granted in all 3 formats if he wont perform.Let him prove that he can attack take wickets then let him talk that would be good for him

  • balajik1968 on June 4, 2014, 10:31 GMT

    He does not have the upper body strength to be able to bowl on unfavourable wickets. At 28 years old he has to be hidden on the field. Unless he addresses these issues he will be a liability outside India.

  • Solace1 on June 4, 2014, 8:45 GMT

    Ashwin needs to play, we need five bowlers and Ashwin can bat as good as Rohit if not better. Dhawan and Vijay as openers, Pujara, Kohli and Rahane at 3,4 and 5 and MSD at 6. Ashwin and Jadeja at 7 and 8 followed by the three seamers.

  • ladycricfan on June 4, 2014, 8:43 GMT

    If ODI series is the yardstick to assess pitch conditions in England lately, just finished SL v Eng series has been a low scoring affair. The spinners were very successful. Only one match had a high score of 300/293. All other matches were played in spin friendly pitches. Hope the trend continues for the test matches as well.

  • siddhartha87 on June 4, 2014, 8:25 GMT

    Ashwin can do well only in doctored pitches that too only against novice batsmen.period.

  • Coolcapricorn on June 4, 2014, 8:12 GMT

    Hope MSD get his team tactics & team selection right in just choosing one spinner in all the Tests here in England - otherwise we are in for yet another overseas drubbing! Ashwin has to show he can take wickets abroad too, great if he has an attacking mindset backed by his skipper & really hope he does well.

  • on June 4, 2014, 8:04 GMT

    @Known Strangerr Even Murali has worse record in Australia. Harbhajan never performed in Australia. Ajmal failed in Australia. Ashwin has played just 4 tests abroad. Kumble had worse record overseas in his initial years as well. He started performing only after 2 tours. Johnson has pathetic record in India. did Australia drop him?? He bowled well in England in CT2013. he had poor 3 odis in SA but the whole team did have worse. Yes he failed in NZ but to be fair to him anybody can run into bad form anytime. He was the best bowler in WT20 in Bangladesh. In Aus - Ind Odi series he started badly but adopted to huge scores as series went on. No bowler can perform when scores are around 375 every match. Swann was poor in his 1st tour to India. but he got better with experience. Spinners will mature only with experience and he will also improve.

  • on June 4, 2014, 7:53 GMT

    I am someone who is a big fan of Ashwin. Too many people criticise and right him off for minuscule reasons. Yes he averages 74 in tests overseas but he has played only 4 games. It takes time for bowlers to learn how to bowl in foreign conditions. His record at home is extraordinary and no one has bowled better than him in those conditions. The additional thing is he can bat. I would really like to see both Ashwin and Jadeja in the team because right now there is an excess batsmen and a bowler short. Ash and Jadeja can contribute in both departments so I would like to see one of Rohit and Ajinkhya dropped for 5 bowlers. 4 bowler strategy worked previously because the likes of Sachin, Sourav and Viru were decent and could bowl some part-time. There are no such luxury now and with only 4 bowlers they will get tired. This is what cost us the overseas losses as they bowled really well early in all games but soon tired and let the opposition of the hook.

  • on June 4, 2014, 7:33 GMT

    ODI BestFormofCricket taking swann as example would be wrong he thrived in home conditions which have pace bounce and not much assistance to spin still he has best figures at Lords.But Ashwin plays in subcontinent pitches so no comparision

  • ODI_BestFormOfCricket on June 4, 2014, 7:14 GMT

    more experienced, more world class, talented swann went for 80 runs per wicket. Ashwin still in his early days of international test cricket. Hoping ll perform.

  • ladycricfan on June 4, 2014, 6:55 GMT

    Jadeja doesn't spin the ball much. But his strength is immaculate line and length. When the pitch takes a bit of spin his wicket to wicket bowling gets him wickets.

    Ashwin spins the ball a lot more. He has more variations. He changes his line and length according to the batsman and the situation. Hope to see both Jadeja and Ashwin playing together in England.

    Looking forward to an exciting series. All the best.

  • VenkatChetlur on June 4, 2014, 6:51 GMT

    So Ashwin was asked to hold an end up, then dropped and then Jadeja was brought in and asked to attack? Strange!

  • rachits on June 4, 2014, 6:44 GMT

    how will he convince his captain to let go of a defensive mindset?

  • on June 4, 2014, 6:36 GMT

    Offlate R Ashwin has been all talk and no action he talks big before series or games but never lives up to his talk.There are many people who say he is a good batsmen so he should play his primary role is a spinner if he cant do that properly time to replace him his good batting cannot be a cover up for bad bowling if we have a good bowler who can bowl well and take wickets we dont him to bat and save games.Ashwin perform or perish should be how it is he has got a long leeway even after non performance time to look beyond him

  • on June 4, 2014, 6:18 GMT

    Time he promoted himself up the order and bat at 5 or 6. He has the example of Ravi Shastri before him, who from being a bowler who can bat, became a batsman who can bowl a bit.His bowling leaves a lot to be desired. He can also think of enrolling in a boot camp like training program , ala , Yuvi and Zaheer to get into some great shape, for it will help him in getting power into his shots and also his fielding. Who knows with strength training he may also be able to give more revs on the ball and become a better spinner too.

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  • on June 4, 2014, 6:18 GMT

    Time he promoted himself up the order and bat at 5 or 6. He has the example of Ravi Shastri before him, who from being a bowler who can bat, became a batsman who can bowl a bit.His bowling leaves a lot to be desired. He can also think of enrolling in a boot camp like training program , ala , Yuvi and Zaheer to get into some great shape, for it will help him in getting power into his shots and also his fielding. Who knows with strength training he may also be able to give more revs on the ball and become a better spinner too.

  • on June 4, 2014, 6:36 GMT

    Offlate R Ashwin has been all talk and no action he talks big before series or games but never lives up to his talk.There are many people who say he is a good batsmen so he should play his primary role is a spinner if he cant do that properly time to replace him his good batting cannot be a cover up for bad bowling if we have a good bowler who can bowl well and take wickets we dont him to bat and save games.Ashwin perform or perish should be how it is he has got a long leeway even after non performance time to look beyond him

  • rachits on June 4, 2014, 6:44 GMT

    how will he convince his captain to let go of a defensive mindset?

  • VenkatChetlur on June 4, 2014, 6:51 GMT

    So Ashwin was asked to hold an end up, then dropped and then Jadeja was brought in and asked to attack? Strange!

  • ladycricfan on June 4, 2014, 6:55 GMT

    Jadeja doesn't spin the ball much. But his strength is immaculate line and length. When the pitch takes a bit of spin his wicket to wicket bowling gets him wickets.

    Ashwin spins the ball a lot more. He has more variations. He changes his line and length according to the batsman and the situation. Hope to see both Jadeja and Ashwin playing together in England.

    Looking forward to an exciting series. All the best.

  • ODI_BestFormOfCricket on June 4, 2014, 7:14 GMT

    more experienced, more world class, talented swann went for 80 runs per wicket. Ashwin still in his early days of international test cricket. Hoping ll perform.

  • on June 4, 2014, 7:33 GMT

    ODI BestFormofCricket taking swann as example would be wrong he thrived in home conditions which have pace bounce and not much assistance to spin still he has best figures at Lords.But Ashwin plays in subcontinent pitches so no comparision

  • on June 4, 2014, 7:53 GMT

    I am someone who is a big fan of Ashwin. Too many people criticise and right him off for minuscule reasons. Yes he averages 74 in tests overseas but he has played only 4 games. It takes time for bowlers to learn how to bowl in foreign conditions. His record at home is extraordinary and no one has bowled better than him in those conditions. The additional thing is he can bat. I would really like to see both Ashwin and Jadeja in the team because right now there is an excess batsmen and a bowler short. Ash and Jadeja can contribute in both departments so I would like to see one of Rohit and Ajinkhya dropped for 5 bowlers. 4 bowler strategy worked previously because the likes of Sachin, Sourav and Viru were decent and could bowl some part-time. There are no such luxury now and with only 4 bowlers they will get tired. This is what cost us the overseas losses as they bowled really well early in all games but soon tired and let the opposition of the hook.

  • on June 4, 2014, 8:04 GMT

    @Known Strangerr Even Murali has worse record in Australia. Harbhajan never performed in Australia. Ajmal failed in Australia. Ashwin has played just 4 tests abroad. Kumble had worse record overseas in his initial years as well. He started performing only after 2 tours. Johnson has pathetic record in India. did Australia drop him?? He bowled well in England in CT2013. he had poor 3 odis in SA but the whole team did have worse. Yes he failed in NZ but to be fair to him anybody can run into bad form anytime. He was the best bowler in WT20 in Bangladesh. In Aus - Ind Odi series he started badly but adopted to huge scores as series went on. No bowler can perform when scores are around 375 every match. Swann was poor in his 1st tour to India. but he got better with experience. Spinners will mature only with experience and he will also improve.

  • Coolcapricorn on June 4, 2014, 8:12 GMT

    Hope MSD get his team tactics & team selection right in just choosing one spinner in all the Tests here in England - otherwise we are in for yet another overseas drubbing! Ashwin has to show he can take wickets abroad too, great if he has an attacking mindset backed by his skipper & really hope he does well.