Kolkata v Chennai, IPL 2013, Kolkata April 20, 2013

'Ashwin's role was to get us a quick start' - Hussey

ESPNcricinfo staff
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Chennai Super Kings, thanks to a blitz from Ravindra Jadeja, staged another late recovery to chase down a target in the IPL, on Saturday against Kolkata Knight Riders. That target of 120 was not a big one, though, and had they failed to knock it off, there would have been many questions around why they had chosen to open their innings with R Ashwin.

While Super Kings have been searching for right combination at the top all through this tournament, with M Vijay struggling and S Anirudha falling for a duck when given a chance, promoting Ashwin - who has a top score of 11 in the IPL - hardly seemed the answer. He managed to get away a couple of neat fours through the leg side - flicked and swept - but could not give Super Kings the quick runs they wanted of him on the sluggish track. That, according to Michael Hussey, was the idea behind sending him out to open.

"I think Ashwin's role was to try and get us off to a quick start, look to take advantage of the first six overs and he had a licence to tee off. He hit a couple of good boundaries but, as it can happen in T20 cricket, you can get out anytime," Hussey told the IPL site. "I think there was pressure all the way through, because it was a difficult surface to bat on. It was almost a case of if you play properly, try and work the ones and twos, it can be very difficult to score; but if you try and tee off it might just work."

Given the nature of the track, Hussey said, Super Kings were not complacent about the target. "Kolkata is always a tough place to play; the pitch is always slow and low with less bounce, and we knew even 120 or 130 could be a defendable total here," he said. "And I think the bowlers are becoming a lot smarter, so the scores over the whole competition have been a little bit lower than normal. But thankfully some late hitting from 'Sir' Jadeja got us over the line again."

Hussey batted through to the 17th over, scoring 40 off 51 - the slowest score of 40 or more overall in the IPL - and when he got out, Super Kings needed 31 off 19. Jadeja slammed 36 off 14 to take them home with five balls to spare. "Obviously you needed one person to try and bat through the innings and have the other guy try and hit around," Hussey said. "But I guess it was easier when I got out. I was struggling to hit the ball very far and thankfully Jadeja and Dwayne Bravo finished the job for us. We have got a lot of power hitters in our line-up and we always have it in the back of our mind that they could get us home."

Knight Riders' offspinning pair of Sunil Narine and Sachithra Senanayake, who conceded 38 runs between them in eight overs, were expectedly hard to get away Hussey said: "You can pick both of them, but it is still difficult to play them. They know where they are landing the ball and the Kolkata surface is sort of helpful for them as well. It is very difficult to play them here."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • crindex on April 22, 2013, 11:36 GMT

    Ashwin is totally unsuitable for opening in T20. He is a sluggish player. He may have the talent but he lacks fire in the belly and is averse to taking risks which is what is needed at the top. In my opinion its not Ashwin's fault that he did not fulfill the role he was told to do but the coach's for putting him for such a role. ONe could have chosen Bravo instead or even Chris Morris would have done the job better. Poor choices make poor batting and eventual loss of a match !

  • TheOnlyEmperor on April 22, 2013, 6:34 GMT

    Hussey is not an explosive hitter. He can build partnerships and improves his strike rate once he crosses 30. Vijay can hit, but he is too afraid of failing and consequently fails. He can't lead the scoring. He likes to play second fiddle like he did to Pujara in the Tests. Therefore he's unfit to open with a person like Hussey. If Vijay MUST play then he needs to open with Faf... followed by Raina, Dhoni, Jadeja and Hussey. Faf is aggressive, a leader and as a partner will give the self-doubting Vijay to play on without a brain-freeze! Badri has today given an interview to TOI where he has stated that he would like to play at No4! The temerity!.. when he bats at a strike rate of 120! Drop him I say!

  • TheOnlyEmperor on April 22, 2013, 5:11 GMT

    I think Badri, Vijay, Bravo and Morkel need to be kept out of the CSK team. Badri cannot strike at more than 120, Vijay is too inconsistent, Morkel very bad on economy and Bravo can't be trusted to bowl an economical over after the 15th. CSK needs to open with Faf and Hussey, followed by Raina, Dhoni and Jadeja. From the existing bowlers Ashwin, Nannes , Moris and Mohit can be considered. This accounts for 9. The balance 2 should be filled with 2 Indians, one batsman (who can strike at 150+ and one fast bowler (who can be economical). I am quite certain that with Faf and Hussey the CSK will get a great start ( a good partnership at a healthy strike rate) 8 out of 10 times and that's good enough.

  • on April 22, 2013, 4:59 GMT

    It was one of the Worst decision made in IPL history by CSK. Everyone know Ashwin is not a slogger and though having 9 proper batsmen they send him to Slog..Whats the use of having morkel or morris or Bravo?? I am a die hard fan of CSK but hate their Conservative approach to the game.They are the least exciting team in the IPL.With such a team they can show sheer dominance but they always struggle to chase any score..Let it be chasing 100 runs of 200 runs they end up 50 in first ten yet loosing 2-3 wickets...

  • Sanath.Shenoy on April 22, 2013, 4:49 GMT

    This may also be due to the innings where he scored 91 notout against england on this very ground where all the top order indian batsmen struggled. http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/565808.html

  • raj_n on April 22, 2013, 3:22 GMT

    At the end of KKRs innings Ashwin walked upto Dhoni and casually asked him if he can open. Dhoni told him to go ahead. There was no strategy and no thinking behind the move. The tv replays will reveal the same.

  • joseyesu on April 22, 2013, 2:55 GMT

    Wonder with this stratergy, Team comprises of nearly 7-8 international batsman, Yet Ashwin has been choosen. Had this has been lost CSK would have been trashed from all corners. Chasing a modest total, only CSK can take this hard.

  • InnocentGuy on April 21, 2013, 20:52 GMT

    I think this was a good game and time to experiment with. It was a well-below par score, and it is still early in the tournament. So they tried something and it didn't work out. So what? No big deal, even if they had lost the game.

  • on April 21, 2013, 16:47 GMT

    Vijay has given so many chances but still he is in Test mood, thinking that he has to play for 50 overs and Raina strikes the ball beautifully and hit for six which is beautifully caught at the boundary. He has to see all other matches who hit sixes very beautifully out of the stands. Faf has already in Chennai and he should be utilised. All in Dhoni's hands only

  • on April 21, 2013, 15:26 GMT

    @Ravikiran Hande: Well, even if Ashwin opening the innings was to shield Raina and Vijay from the spin attack, what wrong is in that? When Gambhir, can bring in Pathan top open the innings, I'm sure Dhoni could do with Ashwin! Surprising it was, but I don't think it was a terrible thing to do.

  • crindex on April 22, 2013, 11:36 GMT

    Ashwin is totally unsuitable for opening in T20. He is a sluggish player. He may have the talent but he lacks fire in the belly and is averse to taking risks which is what is needed at the top. In my opinion its not Ashwin's fault that he did not fulfill the role he was told to do but the coach's for putting him for such a role. ONe could have chosen Bravo instead or even Chris Morris would have done the job better. Poor choices make poor batting and eventual loss of a match !

  • TheOnlyEmperor on April 22, 2013, 6:34 GMT

    Hussey is not an explosive hitter. He can build partnerships and improves his strike rate once he crosses 30. Vijay can hit, but he is too afraid of failing and consequently fails. He can't lead the scoring. He likes to play second fiddle like he did to Pujara in the Tests. Therefore he's unfit to open with a person like Hussey. If Vijay MUST play then he needs to open with Faf... followed by Raina, Dhoni, Jadeja and Hussey. Faf is aggressive, a leader and as a partner will give the self-doubting Vijay to play on without a brain-freeze! Badri has today given an interview to TOI where he has stated that he would like to play at No4! The temerity!.. when he bats at a strike rate of 120! Drop him I say!

  • TheOnlyEmperor on April 22, 2013, 5:11 GMT

    I think Badri, Vijay, Bravo and Morkel need to be kept out of the CSK team. Badri cannot strike at more than 120, Vijay is too inconsistent, Morkel very bad on economy and Bravo can't be trusted to bowl an economical over after the 15th. CSK needs to open with Faf and Hussey, followed by Raina, Dhoni and Jadeja. From the existing bowlers Ashwin, Nannes , Moris and Mohit can be considered. This accounts for 9. The balance 2 should be filled with 2 Indians, one batsman (who can strike at 150+ and one fast bowler (who can be economical). I am quite certain that with Faf and Hussey the CSK will get a great start ( a good partnership at a healthy strike rate) 8 out of 10 times and that's good enough.

  • on April 22, 2013, 4:59 GMT

    It was one of the Worst decision made in IPL history by CSK. Everyone know Ashwin is not a slogger and though having 9 proper batsmen they send him to Slog..Whats the use of having morkel or morris or Bravo?? I am a die hard fan of CSK but hate their Conservative approach to the game.They are the least exciting team in the IPL.With such a team they can show sheer dominance but they always struggle to chase any score..Let it be chasing 100 runs of 200 runs they end up 50 in first ten yet loosing 2-3 wickets...

  • Sanath.Shenoy on April 22, 2013, 4:49 GMT

    This may also be due to the innings where he scored 91 notout against england on this very ground where all the top order indian batsmen struggled. http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/565808.html

  • raj_n on April 22, 2013, 3:22 GMT

    At the end of KKRs innings Ashwin walked upto Dhoni and casually asked him if he can open. Dhoni told him to go ahead. There was no strategy and no thinking behind the move. The tv replays will reveal the same.

  • joseyesu on April 22, 2013, 2:55 GMT

    Wonder with this stratergy, Team comprises of nearly 7-8 international batsman, Yet Ashwin has been choosen. Had this has been lost CSK would have been trashed from all corners. Chasing a modest total, only CSK can take this hard.

  • InnocentGuy on April 21, 2013, 20:52 GMT

    I think this was a good game and time to experiment with. It was a well-below par score, and it is still early in the tournament. So they tried something and it didn't work out. So what? No big deal, even if they had lost the game.

  • on April 21, 2013, 16:47 GMT

    Vijay has given so many chances but still he is in Test mood, thinking that he has to play for 50 overs and Raina strikes the ball beautifully and hit for six which is beautifully caught at the boundary. He has to see all other matches who hit sixes very beautifully out of the stands. Faf has already in Chennai and he should be utilised. All in Dhoni's hands only

  • on April 21, 2013, 15:26 GMT

    @Ravikiran Hande: Well, even if Ashwin opening the innings was to shield Raina and Vijay from the spin attack, what wrong is in that? When Gambhir, can bring in Pathan top open the innings, I'm sure Dhoni could do with Ashwin! Surprising it was, but I don't think it was a terrible thing to do.

  • attitudeisgod on April 21, 2013, 15:23 GMT

    I go with CSK. If they wanted to experiment with Ashwin opening the innings, it was the right match. If you can't try that with <120 total, when can you? Moreover, Ashwin has opened many a times in domestic cricket, and has got a test century too! Bravo and Morkel are not apt to open due to their height.

  • on April 21, 2013, 14:00 GMT

    Really Mr Hussey?CSk couldnt find a better hitter than Ashwin to open?I suppose Raina,Morkel,Bravo do not exist?He is not even a fast runner to take quick singles in the power play overs with close infields and almost ran hussey out!!Imagine what would have been the condition had hussey departed early?This nightwatchman act by Ashwin serves no purpose other than shielding Murali Vijay and Raina from getting out in the first 6 overs which sounds highly absurd!!!

  • true_point on April 21, 2013, 13:27 GMT

    Murali Vijay is the Yousuf Pathan of CSK. It is very unfair of CSK Management to judge Anirudhha Srikanth from one outing when Vijay has been given so many chances even after failure after failure. Some of Vijay's failure can be attributed to cockiness, brain freeze, complacency and wrong shot selection at the wrong time. He needs a royal kick in his backside and should be sidelined for some games and Aniruddha should be tried for atleast for a couple of games. Hope they don't try to open with Badrinath next time - Ashwin is better than Badri because Ashwin tries to innovate - but has been cheeky so far since he has not succeeded. Badri is OK for a 50 over game. CSK these days look like test team when they leave outside the off stump balls stylishly in first 6 overs. Better idea would be to promote Ablie Morkell to open the innings.

  • on April 21, 2013, 12:42 GMT

    Badri cant open cause he's more of an anchor and we already have a anchor in hussey so we will end up again losing balls so let us try huss and raina have an open

    My 11 hussey raina badri jadeja dhoni bravo saha morris ashwin nannes mohit sharma

  • RajSuperman on April 21, 2013, 12:42 GMT

    @VJGS I know about FAF's bad back, btw he is in chennai already and recovered. I did not mention that Dhoni benched him :-). U assumed that I am Dhoni critic.

    My first CSK XI would be Huss, Faf, Raina, Badri, Dhoni, Sir, Ashwin, Morris, Baba/ Domestic seamer, Nannes, Mohit.

    CSK to be even more consistently lethal has to let go off Albie and Vijay - who probably do well in couple of matches in the tournament. Vijay seems confused between test and t20 at the moment. CSK has two out of form batsmen in Vijay and Raina and this is hurting them - one has to go.

  • on April 21, 2013, 11:32 GMT

    if vijay is strugling make dwayne bravo open the innings with mike hussey , bravo has open the batting for mumbai indians . scoring 70 not out.let murali vijay or anirudh come at number 7or 8 . getting some quick runs .

    My CSK XI : Hussey , Bravo, Raina, Dhoni, Badrinath, Morke,l Vijay/Anirudh, Jadeja ,Morris, Ashwin , Sharma.

  • Anubhav-the-Experience on April 21, 2013, 11:18 GMT

    Morkel I guess is still recovering from injury...He should be given further rest and bring in du plessi but he might not be fully fight either.

  • on April 21, 2013, 10:16 GMT

    I still can't believe that kkr has not learned the mistakes from there previous ames they have still not lost faith in kallis or pathan its a big shame to watch kkr still depending a lot on pathan and kallis. Not only that kkr depends too much on the likes of gambhir, morgan, narine ,senanayeke . They have still not given iqbal Abdulla(highest wicket taker for kkr in ipl-4. They have to learn examples from teams like sunrisers who even having a partially weak squad but fighting with their maximum potential. CSK as usual did a great job they have one of the best sides in the t20 format although murali Vijay is out of form but still I would bet my money on him bcoz he is their player who does his job at the end of the tournament......................... Hope that kkr does a serious change that mccullum in for kallis, iqbal Abdulla in for debabrata das and balaji be the only pace bowler.

  • Dbell on April 21, 2013, 10:05 GMT

    @Dylan Dpc I wouldn't drop Bravo yet, he contributes a lot to this team. He hasn't performed with the bat yet, but he is CSK's leading wicket taker, with 10 wickets and has played a game less than Vinay Kumar who has 12 wickets and the purple cap. I'd say that is a fine contribution to any side, lets not forget that Bravo is an outstanding fielder too. His place will be safe.

  • D-Train on April 21, 2013, 9:59 GMT

    No need for him to pinch hit an open. Chennai have a long and strong batting line up and Ashwin has a very poor t20 strike rate. He was taking balls away from better batsmen. Many teams still fail to understand how little time you have in a t20. Morkel and Morris should both be batting in the top 5. Without a doubt.

  • on April 21, 2013, 9:47 GMT

    CSK should feel shame because of their playing 11 dont they feel shame on them all the best players like Hussey, bravo, dhoni, raina, badrinath all the good players from indian team and foreigners winning is not a big problem even tough they have great players but still struggling to chase scores like 120

  • on April 21, 2013, 8:52 GMT

    Ashwin is a player who takes some time to adjust. In limited overs he will play a lot of dot balls and then try to improvise and miss. not a bad decision to open.

    Also i feel CSK could try bringing in Faf Du Plessis instead of Albie Morkel or preferably Dwayne Bravo. Dwayne Bravo has contributed but not much with the bat and ball and CSK could use it as opportunity to strengthen especially with Murali Vijay and Suresh Raina not among the runs.

    Another option for opening could be Badrinath. He is a player who can play anchor role well and opening could give Hussey the freedom and thus relieve pressure on middle-order while chasing

  • MIB-Men-in-Blue on April 21, 2013, 8:48 GMT

    CSK having 4 wins in the kitty and still many matches to go, it's the time to try to bat Baba Aparajith, who is proven batter in U-19 and domestic matches, in place of Vijay and Faf for Raina/Albie..!

  • VJGS on April 21, 2013, 8:47 GMT

    @RajSuperman you're obviously lagging behind on Cricket news, buddy. Do you really think Faf is sitting in the bench and that Dhoni just doesn't give him an opportunity? He actually has an injured back and is yet to join the CSK camp. Dhoni mentioned during yesterdays's toss that even though they had a winning combo (after DD), there will be plenty of forced changes once Nannes is fit and Faf joins the team

  • BrianCharlesVivek on April 21, 2013, 8:15 GMT

    Thats a captain's attitude more than anything else. Pollard didnt deliver the ball, then Dhoni pulled over...Now Gambhir sends Pathan ,Dhoni sends Ashwin..Its more of a mind game played. People fail to understand that.

  • Shrujankatama01 on April 21, 2013, 8:04 GMT

    I think Anirudha should be brought in.

  • sahbas_s on April 21, 2013, 8:02 GMT

    Loving Jadeja's finishing knocks and simply his presence on field be it bowling, fielding or batting though i am not a csk follower. Indian cricket may have found another big thing if Jaddu clicks in seaming conditions like SA,ENG or Aus. Will be very sad if he also falls in the list of subcon bullies.

  • kevivnajar on April 21, 2013, 7:54 GMT

    Ashwin's promotion makes sense...he is a good timer and can use the gaps in the first 6 overs; Kolkatta is a tough pitch and with Senanayake & Narine bowling even the best players will struggle.. However, with only 1 match, it is bad to write off Anirudha.. I've seen him bat, he's a very aggressive player..

  • RajSuperman on April 21, 2013, 7:28 GMT

    CSK has been overloaded with one too many international all rounders at the expense of proper in-form batsmen. It is time to let go off Morkel and get in Faf. If they are concerned about bowling depth then drop Vijay and get either baba or another domestic fast bowler. Either way I think economy rate of 9 odd which morkel is achieving can be replicated by any half decent bowler. Leaving too much for the last is not a strategy but a 50-50 chance - look at what happened against pune warriors. Winning this many games by playing below expected standards is fantastic but might hurt in the knock out stages. Overall this IPL has been more balanced in terms of battle between ball and bat - making the quality of cricket better to watch.

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  • RajSuperman on April 21, 2013, 7:28 GMT

    CSK has been overloaded with one too many international all rounders at the expense of proper in-form batsmen. It is time to let go off Morkel and get in Faf. If they are concerned about bowling depth then drop Vijay and get either baba or another domestic fast bowler. Either way I think economy rate of 9 odd which morkel is achieving can be replicated by any half decent bowler. Leaving too much for the last is not a strategy but a 50-50 chance - look at what happened against pune warriors. Winning this many games by playing below expected standards is fantastic but might hurt in the knock out stages. Overall this IPL has been more balanced in terms of battle between ball and bat - making the quality of cricket better to watch.

  • kevivnajar on April 21, 2013, 7:54 GMT

    Ashwin's promotion makes sense...he is a good timer and can use the gaps in the first 6 overs; Kolkatta is a tough pitch and with Senanayake & Narine bowling even the best players will struggle.. However, with only 1 match, it is bad to write off Anirudha.. I've seen him bat, he's a very aggressive player..

  • sahbas_s on April 21, 2013, 8:02 GMT

    Loving Jadeja's finishing knocks and simply his presence on field be it bowling, fielding or batting though i am not a csk follower. Indian cricket may have found another big thing if Jaddu clicks in seaming conditions like SA,ENG or Aus. Will be very sad if he also falls in the list of subcon bullies.

  • Shrujankatama01 on April 21, 2013, 8:04 GMT

    I think Anirudha should be brought in.

  • BrianCharlesVivek on April 21, 2013, 8:15 GMT

    Thats a captain's attitude more than anything else. Pollard didnt deliver the ball, then Dhoni pulled over...Now Gambhir sends Pathan ,Dhoni sends Ashwin..Its more of a mind game played. People fail to understand that.

  • VJGS on April 21, 2013, 8:47 GMT

    @RajSuperman you're obviously lagging behind on Cricket news, buddy. Do you really think Faf is sitting in the bench and that Dhoni just doesn't give him an opportunity? He actually has an injured back and is yet to join the CSK camp. Dhoni mentioned during yesterdays's toss that even though they had a winning combo (after DD), there will be plenty of forced changes once Nannes is fit and Faf joins the team

  • MIB-Men-in-Blue on April 21, 2013, 8:48 GMT

    CSK having 4 wins in the kitty and still many matches to go, it's the time to try to bat Baba Aparajith, who is proven batter in U-19 and domestic matches, in place of Vijay and Faf for Raina/Albie..!

  • on April 21, 2013, 8:52 GMT

    Ashwin is a player who takes some time to adjust. In limited overs he will play a lot of dot balls and then try to improvise and miss. not a bad decision to open.

    Also i feel CSK could try bringing in Faf Du Plessis instead of Albie Morkel or preferably Dwayne Bravo. Dwayne Bravo has contributed but not much with the bat and ball and CSK could use it as opportunity to strengthen especially with Murali Vijay and Suresh Raina not among the runs.

    Another option for opening could be Badrinath. He is a player who can play anchor role well and opening could give Hussey the freedom and thus relieve pressure on middle-order while chasing

  • on April 21, 2013, 9:47 GMT

    CSK should feel shame because of their playing 11 dont they feel shame on them all the best players like Hussey, bravo, dhoni, raina, badrinath all the good players from indian team and foreigners winning is not a big problem even tough they have great players but still struggling to chase scores like 120

  • D-Train on April 21, 2013, 9:59 GMT

    No need for him to pinch hit an open. Chennai have a long and strong batting line up and Ashwin has a very poor t20 strike rate. He was taking balls away from better batsmen. Many teams still fail to understand how little time you have in a t20. Morkel and Morris should both be batting in the top 5. Without a doubt.