June 5, 2011

The spinner who thrives on pressure

R Ashwin, India's offspinner, is making a name for himself by taking on responsibility when the stakes are high
  shares 34

On a chilly, drizzly night in Port Elizabeth, Chennai Super Kings were locked in a Super-Over battle against Victoria in the 2010 Champions League Twenty20. Stephen Fleming, Chennai's coach, wanted to bowl Doug Bollinger, but R Ashwin went up to his captain MS Dhoni and asked for the responsibility. Dhoni, who later said he admires Ashwin for taking up a challenge, threw the ball to him. Ashwin conceded 23, Chennai lost the game.

That failure could have broken his spirit. Instead, in the next game, Ashwin wrote his redemption song. Warriors needed 32 off 18 balls to eliminate Chennai from the competition but Ashwin dismissed the in-form Mark Boucher and Justin Kreusch, in an over that cost only seven, to win the game for his team.

"That over, with those two wickets, is the most memorable moment on a cricket field for me," Ashwin told ESPNcricinfo before the World Cup. "I am grateful to Dhoni for giving me the opportunity to bowl the Super Over. It didn't go well but I learnt the most important lesson that night: never panic again."

And he has never panicked since. Now Ashwin is at another crossroad, after finally being anointed India's second ODI spinner, behind Harbhajan Singh. His fans are more ambitious. They reckon Ashwin can even push out Harbhajan, if India play on pitches that merit only one spinner. He isn't there just yet, but this tour of the West Indies and the immediate beyond is a pivotal moment in Ashwin's life. He knows it, too.

"Harbhajan is one of my childhood heroes, if the captain thinks I am good enough to partner him, I would grab it," Ashwin says. "It's just a stereotype, a pre-conceived notion that two offspinners can't play. We are different type of bowlers and I guess it will also come down to the opponents and the pitch that we play."

They are different. Ashwin has refused to conform to the offspinner tag, constantly evolving his art. He even cannibalises the men he initially apes. It was Ajantha Mendis who inspired Ashwin to develop the carom ball. He remembers the day, three and a half years ago.

"I saw Mendis bowl at Chepauk. This was before he went on to play for Sri Lanka. I went home that day and told my father that I saw someone who was flicking the leather ball with his fingers like how we do in tennis-ball cricket." The carom ball is called the soduku ball in Chennai's gully cricket. Inspired, Ashwin set about trying to replicate it. "Nothing went right. It would land short and I was thrashed in the nets."

WV Raman, his Tamil Nadu coach at the time, showed him the path. "I told him you can't give up easily," Raman said. "You need to devote entire sessions to hone the skill. Have one stump and keep bowling at it."

Raman believes Ashwin is an ambitious individual who has constantly improved in every season. "He made a paradigm shift early in his career from an opening batsman at junior level to a bowler. He is a guy who looks forward to challenges and someone who doesn't like to be in a comfort zone. Mentally he is pretty much up there. He has the qualities to become a good leader."

Ashwin appropriated elements of Mendis that he wanted, made them his own and honed his own style. His carom balls now have more venom than those of Mendis: they break away more. The cannibalisation was complete. He then looked for more variations and recently added legbreaks to his arsenal.

Raman pointed out potential pitfalls and areas of improvement. "He used to be impatient in the early years. He thought he can get wickets with every other ball. He has since realised that he can't be trying to get wickets quickly always, as it affected his consistency. He would either give too many runs or start trying too many things in an effort to bowl the wicket-taking ball.

"It took him two-three years to mature and develop good control over his stock delivery. He has learnt to vary his length; that's why people are finding it difficult to go after him. I still think he still needs to keep reminding himself that a hallmark of a good bowler is to bowl a good line and length consistently for the entire duration of the game."

There is a perception, accentuated by his stellar new-ball spells in the IPL, that Ashwin isn't as good in the middle overs. He doesn't agree. "I am as good as any other spinner in the middle overs. I bowl two or three dot balls, build pressure and get a couple of wickets. I enjoy bowling in Powerplays because I am confident about the challenge. Something is going to happen every other ball. And I am probably more ready to get hit than anybody else."

He then adds, summarising his mindset best, "unless you lose some, you don't win most."

In his last three IPL games, Ashwin took on the rampaging Chris Gayle in the Powerplay. He gave only 16 in four overs in the first, trapped Gayle lbw in the next, and had him caught behind in the final. It's stunning that in his brief career - let's not forget that he is just a novice - Ashwin has already made a name as a bowler who thrives under pressure and against tough opposition.

He now has five ODIs to bowl alongside Harbhajan and sees himself as an attacking option. "I probably will settle for giving 5.5 runs [an over] or 6 in ODIs and taking three wickets. Since I am going to bowl in Powerplays, I will go for the odd boundary, but I will pick up wickets. It's a combination of guts and bowling skill which makes you feel you want to give it all in pressure situations, and do well.

"When I started to bowl with the new ball in IPL, people said 'he is a new-ball specialist and doesn't do as well in middle overs.' When I bowled well in middle overs, they then said, 'he doesn't bowl in death.' I know that these are part and parcel of a cricketer's life. I just have to focus on consistently honing my art."

The desire to keep improving is burning inside Ashwin. The one area of his cricket that disappoints him is his batting. "I cannot deny the fact that I have under achieved as a batsman. I would love to turn it around. If I am not an asset to the team, I would rather not be in the team."

Sriram Veera is a staff writer at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY moBlue on | June 6, 2011, 19:29 GMT

    well, bhajji has never really scaled the heights of the 2001 AUS tour of IND, and in that way, and specifically by not being as attacking a bowler for reasons known only to him, bhajji has disappointed me. but let us not be quick to write his cricket obituary! people, do you realize IND has not yet played a test series after the last one against SA in SA? let us not forget that bhajji won us the second test, and bowled pretty well on the remaining two unhelpful (to spinners) pitches that SA had prepared. i like what i have seen of ashwin, but he is not even a test debutant yet! test cricket spin bowling on unfriendly foreign pitches with the kookabara ball over 5 days is an entirely different kettle of fish than the IPL or even the ODIs, and even kumble struggled outside IND, and not only relative to bhajji! so i am not yet ready to crown ashwin, though he seems promising, because i still haven't seen him play a single test match yet! ... and people want bhajji to retire already?!? :)

  • POSTED BY prabhakardanda on | June 6, 2011, 19:03 GMT

    hi friends, i would like to discuss abt rohith sharma place in the team.....he is such a great talented batsman, but look at his body language when he came to bad or field....i never seen such a lazy fellow in cricket...wat the hell s doing these coaches ,....y cant they find out these prob with players , and to rectify those...i would like to name some players like rohit, munaf,....

  • POSTED BY on | June 6, 2011, 14:03 GMT

    Aswin is young..and Harbajan is old. let the old guy retire.

  • POSTED BY adhir_maharaj on | June 6, 2011, 13:47 GMT

    really guys...comparing Harbhajan with Ashwin...come on guys... Harbhajan is an experienced cricketer who has proved he can also wield his willow when the need arises. Ashwin will learn from Harbhajan and who will be groomed into leading the attack.... But seriously, unfair to Young Ashwin to be compared to the Great Harbhajan Singh

  • POSTED BY on | June 6, 2011, 13:36 GMT

    I dont Ashwin will be a wicket taker in ODI and TEST.....he gets wicket in t20 because the batsman always go after him...that create chances

    You talking about mendis???? Indians Have researched with mendis that they now can play mendis without closing their eyes......:P yes thats true....

  • POSTED BY rairatank on | June 6, 2011, 12:27 GMT

    NumberXI i wish your name could be NumberXII. You shouldn't be XIth one.Comparing Ashwin with Iqubal & Bhatt? In what term? They are different type of bowler (off & leg spinners), no comparison of experience, no comparisson of matches won for their team. Mean it is comparisson of NumberXI and XIIth player, possibly tommorow XIIth player could become NumberXI but not today.

  • POSTED BY on | June 6, 2011, 12:14 GMT

    It is certain than inclusion and emergence of R Ashwin has given pressure on Bhajji to perform better. He has been above average bowler since past few years.WC has been a nice outcome but single match performance of Ashwin has also made noise. hajji has failed to repeat his best performance and has been defensive bowler as he has emphasized quick and flat bowl and has almost forgotten his dusra. Ashwin in other hand bowls flighted left spin and follows carom bowl which creates doubt in batsman mind. He along with unlucky amit Mishra looks more attacking than ordinary Bhajji. Now either Bhajji will uplift his performance or these blowers will replace him. anything will be good for Indian cricket.

  • POSTED BY kingcobra85 on | June 6, 2011, 12:07 GMT

    @From-Chennai dharmasena, arvinda de silva and muralidharan played together in WC 1996 to get SRILANKA their world cup

  • POSTED BY Jack88 on | June 6, 2011, 11:27 GMT

    I can see some people here developing hatred towards Ashwin.Guys please stop it for he is a special talent who renovates himself each and every match.Weren't you amazed at his exquisite magic of merciless killing of batsmen right after he has been hit for a six?For sure he has everything in him to become a great legend like Kumble and i am not exaggerating here..So stop berating him and respect his 'I would rather not be in the team' attitude.FYI, I am not a Chennaite or CSK fanatic.

  • POSTED BY on | June 6, 2011, 11:23 GMT

    Ashwin Bowling average in ODI Mat Inns Balls Runs Wkts BBI BBM Ave Econ SR 4w 5w 10 ODIs 9 9 516 418 18 3/24 3/24 23.22 4.86 28.6 0 0 0

  • POSTED BY moBlue on | June 6, 2011, 19:29 GMT

    well, bhajji has never really scaled the heights of the 2001 AUS tour of IND, and in that way, and specifically by not being as attacking a bowler for reasons known only to him, bhajji has disappointed me. but let us not be quick to write his cricket obituary! people, do you realize IND has not yet played a test series after the last one against SA in SA? let us not forget that bhajji won us the second test, and bowled pretty well on the remaining two unhelpful (to spinners) pitches that SA had prepared. i like what i have seen of ashwin, but he is not even a test debutant yet! test cricket spin bowling on unfriendly foreign pitches with the kookabara ball over 5 days is an entirely different kettle of fish than the IPL or even the ODIs, and even kumble struggled outside IND, and not only relative to bhajji! so i am not yet ready to crown ashwin, though he seems promising, because i still haven't seen him play a single test match yet! ... and people want bhajji to retire already?!? :)

  • POSTED BY prabhakardanda on | June 6, 2011, 19:03 GMT

    hi friends, i would like to discuss abt rohith sharma place in the team.....he is such a great talented batsman, but look at his body language when he came to bad or field....i never seen such a lazy fellow in cricket...wat the hell s doing these coaches ,....y cant they find out these prob with players , and to rectify those...i would like to name some players like rohit, munaf,....

  • POSTED BY on | June 6, 2011, 14:03 GMT

    Aswin is young..and Harbajan is old. let the old guy retire.

  • POSTED BY adhir_maharaj on | June 6, 2011, 13:47 GMT

    really guys...comparing Harbhajan with Ashwin...come on guys... Harbhajan is an experienced cricketer who has proved he can also wield his willow when the need arises. Ashwin will learn from Harbhajan and who will be groomed into leading the attack.... But seriously, unfair to Young Ashwin to be compared to the Great Harbhajan Singh

  • POSTED BY on | June 6, 2011, 13:36 GMT

    I dont Ashwin will be a wicket taker in ODI and TEST.....he gets wicket in t20 because the batsman always go after him...that create chances

    You talking about mendis???? Indians Have researched with mendis that they now can play mendis without closing their eyes......:P yes thats true....

  • POSTED BY rairatank on | June 6, 2011, 12:27 GMT

    NumberXI i wish your name could be NumberXII. You shouldn't be XIth one.Comparing Ashwin with Iqubal & Bhatt? In what term? They are different type of bowler (off & leg spinners), no comparison of experience, no comparisson of matches won for their team. Mean it is comparisson of NumberXI and XIIth player, possibly tommorow XIIth player could become NumberXI but not today.

  • POSTED BY on | June 6, 2011, 12:14 GMT

    It is certain than inclusion and emergence of R Ashwin has given pressure on Bhajji to perform better. He has been above average bowler since past few years.WC has been a nice outcome but single match performance of Ashwin has also made noise. hajji has failed to repeat his best performance and has been defensive bowler as he has emphasized quick and flat bowl and has almost forgotten his dusra. Ashwin in other hand bowls flighted left spin and follows carom bowl which creates doubt in batsman mind. He along with unlucky amit Mishra looks more attacking than ordinary Bhajji. Now either Bhajji will uplift his performance or these blowers will replace him. anything will be good for Indian cricket.

  • POSTED BY kingcobra85 on | June 6, 2011, 12:07 GMT

    @From-Chennai dharmasena, arvinda de silva and muralidharan played together in WC 1996 to get SRILANKA their world cup

  • POSTED BY Jack88 on | June 6, 2011, 11:27 GMT

    I can see some people here developing hatred towards Ashwin.Guys please stop it for he is a special talent who renovates himself each and every match.Weren't you amazed at his exquisite magic of merciless killing of batsmen right after he has been hit for a six?For sure he has everything in him to become a great legend like Kumble and i am not exaggerating here..So stop berating him and respect his 'I would rather not be in the team' attitude.FYI, I am not a Chennaite or CSK fanatic.

  • POSTED BY on | June 6, 2011, 11:23 GMT

    Ashwin Bowling average in ODI Mat Inns Balls Runs Wkts BBI BBM Ave Econ SR 4w 5w 10 ODIs 9 9 516 418 18 3/24 3/24 23.22 4.86 28.6 0 0 0

  • POSTED BY on | June 6, 2011, 11:12 GMT

    @NumberXI - I think you are being too harsh on Ashwin - he's been playing good first class cricket for 4-5 yrs and Bhargav Bhatt and Iqbal Abdulla are young players who had their first ever good season - let us give them 3-4 more years. I give you the Pathan point but Ashwin is no mug with the bat - he averages 35 in FC cricket, which is another vote in his favour. And whenever he has played for India he has done really well. He cant do any more than that.

  • POSTED BY on | June 6, 2011, 11:07 GMT

    @suniljoseph.... U SAID IT... HARBHAJAN IS THE BEST

  • POSTED BY on | June 6, 2011, 10:48 GMT

    Good analysis Number XI..... What is performance? According to me a player who drives his team to victory is a performer.. The great captain - Dhoni's perfromance is not consistent. There are better batsmen than him.. It is applicable to all the players. But what i admire in Dhoni is when there is a demand, he delivers.. e.g IPL 3rd edition semi finals, workd cup final, etc. Therefore, he is a performer. I see the same quality in Ashwin - when there is an expectation and demand, he dlivers. Therefore, I consider him as a performer and we don't have to really say that he is over-rated.. Not all players are performers... Let us wish him all the best.

  • POSTED BY Jim1207 on | June 6, 2011, 10:29 GMT

    We need to understand that Harbhajan got famous and wickets because Sourav Ganguly preferred Bhajji over Kumble in many matches even though Kumble had done service for a decade at that time and Bhajji was very new to international cricket. Similar situation happens now with Ashwin and Bhajji. I am not saying Bhajji should be replaced as it happened to Kumble, equal chance should be given to both of them now and if Bhajji is rested in a series, his place has to go to Ashwin. Ashwin could be understudy of Bhajji and learn about the longevity factor and test cricket. Slowly when Bhajji retires, Ashwin seems to be the right person to pick his place if Ashwin continues to perform well in test cricket as well. People who blame CSK for Ashwin's selection, you would have tough time to pass in the future, it is those players who are performing in Ranji trophy too and would get a chance to prove themselves for India now. Ashwin has been performing well in Ranji from the day he started playing.

  • POSTED BY SRAM20 on | June 6, 2011, 10:27 GMT

    Suddenly from where does this 'Harbhajan love' crop up? Is it because Ashwin is a Chennai guy who hails from the same state as the current selection committee chairman Srikanth who like all chairman of selectors is accused of backing his state players? Harbhajan has been very ordinary in any form of cricket in recent times. Even in the World Cup, he did not just his status as the premier off spinner apart from a game or two. Harbhajan has this tendency of bowling darts after darts to the batsmen and seems to be losing his attacking tendency. He is becoming one dimensional. Ashwin likes getting hit because thats when he attacks more. Harbhajan gets into a shell if he is attacked. Harbhajan is a highly 'kick oriented player'. He needs a big wicket, a big celebration to switch himself on and destroy oppositions. Ashwin doesnt need all that. He can go on quietly and wreak havoc. Some day, Ashwin will become the premier spinner in ODI's. Hope Bhajji is still around that time.

  • POSTED BY on | June 6, 2011, 10:03 GMT

    NumberXI @ please verify the stats .

  • POSTED BY NumberXI on | June 6, 2011, 9:26 GMT

    Ashwin is overrated. His ODI and T20 performances exaggerate a bowler whose Ranji Trophy performances were below those of Yusuf Pathan. Bowlers like Iqbal Abdulla and Bhargav Bhatt (who don't play for CSK, of course) did as well as Ashwin did in the last edition of the Ranji Trophy while others like Sunil Joshi comfortably outbowled him. There are other bowlers India should look to - an excessively Ashwin-centric fixation even if Cricinfo has all the right writers will do Indian cricket harm.

  • POSTED BY From-Chennai on | June 6, 2011, 9:14 GMT

    two offspinners can't play in the same match: is this a reasonable statement which forms the only ground to debate between Bajji and Ashwin. What a shame on all of us.

  • POSTED BY Pathiyal on | June 6, 2011, 9:06 GMT

    it is a bit interesting to watch him bowl - whether in t20s or in ODIs. he is a bit 'kumbleish', always in the process of manufacturing an opportunity out of nothing. i see a long and glorious career for him in international cricket - esp. in tests.

  • POSTED BY sonofchennai on | June 6, 2011, 8:40 GMT

    "If I am not an asset to the team, I would rather not be in the team." ..What wonderful attitude...Go all d way....become consistent and get into the test fray..all the best

  • POSTED BY Rahul_78 on | June 6, 2011, 8:11 GMT

    Glad that there is finally some serious competition for spinners and specially for off spinners slot in Indian cricket. This will keep Bhajji on his toes and egg Ashwin to do well. Ashwin is a new bee and has thrived in T20 IPL cricket and has limited exposure to international cricket and batsmen so he is a bit of a novelty in international cricket. On the other hand Bhajji has survived a decade and proved himself in all formats of the game. Longevity is a hall mark of any cricketer and when you are a off spinner it is more so. Ashwin will have his opportunity as India is playing cricket day in day out now a days and will have to prove himself. He has got a decent start to his international cricket and there is a bit of kumble about him which is very exciting. As a classic Siddhuism says, Good lather is secrete to good shave or something like that..:)

  • POSTED BY on | June 6, 2011, 7:30 GMT

    Alll the best "soduku ball" specialist

  • POSTED BY Forever_Indian on | June 6, 2011, 7:08 GMT

    Guys, I am a huge Ashwin fan too and beleive he will take the spin legacy forward but plzz show some respect to Harbhajan..anyone who is doubting him needs to check on his cricket knowledge ..he was fantastic during the world cup and had he not bowled that spell against Pakistan in semis to get rid of Akmal, we wudnt be world champions... Bhajji still has lot of cricket in him and we should respect he has gone ahead of the Windies tour where all his senior collegues have prioritized IPL

  • POSTED BY on | June 6, 2011, 6:51 GMT

    To get Chris Gayle twice in back to back crucial matches is great and can you name another bowler fast, medium, or spinner off or leg who could have got him out for a score under 10 but remember that he does not belong to the right State. Leaving him out in tha world up final was shocking.

  • POSTED BY KunalNanda on | June 6, 2011, 6:37 GMT

    I think Sriram has a mancrush on Ashwin.

  • POSTED BY suniljoseph on | June 6, 2011, 6:09 GMT

    OH PEOPLE WHY DO YOU FORGET HOW WELL THE TURBANATOR BOWLED IN THE SEMI FINALS AND GOT RID OF BOOM BOOM AFRIDI BECAUSE YOU KNOW WHEN BOOM BOOM STARTS FIRING A TEAM COMPRISING OF 11 ASHWINS CAN NEVER STOP HIM. SO DONT BECOME EMOTIONAL AND FORGET THE PERFORMACES OF BHAJI HE IS THE MOST SENIOR BOWLER AND HE SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO THE LEAD THE SPIN DEPARTMENT OF INDIAN TEAM AND DONT BECOME IRRATIONAL

  • POSTED BY ssenthil on | June 6, 2011, 6:04 GMT

    All the best Ashwin, I can say only one thing, Given a Chance he will outplay H Singh every time. I said the same During 2010 CSK Preview, he can outplay Murali and he Did so I m expecting the same this Time as well.

  • POSTED BY MasterClass on | June 6, 2011, 5:47 GMT

    I'm a huge Ashwin fan, and with his fearless yet clever attitude will undoubtedly be a big part of India's future spin plans. All of a sudden with the likes of Rahul Sharma, Abdul Iqbala, Bhargav Bharat to supplement/challenge Mishra, Ojha and even Chawla our spin stock looks robust and strong! Bhajji is a legend and by far our best spinner. His performance has been poor lately because he has to play on dead Indian tracks. Give him bouncy tracks and watch him destroy oppositions. Indian curators are finally getting the picture and I guarantee we will see more bouncy pitches in India in the future because it also helps Ishant and Munaf, and the crop of young Indian pacers (Aaron, Yadav, Mithun, Arvind & Unadkat) willing to bend their back!

  • POSTED BY vatsap on | June 6, 2011, 5:42 GMT

    One statement from Harbhajans sums it all when asked, "Are you looking forward to bowl with Ashwin". "There are other spinners in the team also and the team combination has not been decided yet".

    All the Best Ashwin.

  • POSTED BY sircha on | June 6, 2011, 5:38 GMT

    Not long before Bhajji feels the pressure of Ashwin behind his heels. Probably the BCCI realized that Bhajji was feeling the heat and hence made him vice-captain for the WI tour so that he could feel secure about his position in the team!

  • POSTED BY on | June 6, 2011, 5:14 GMT

    Awsome .. Awsome... ashwin.. u rock man..!!!!!

  • POSTED BY Percy_Fender on | June 6, 2011, 5:02 GMT

    Ashwin is an intelligent and articulate man. Maybe this is bcause of his upbringing and education. For him it seems to me that cricket is the essence not the money that flows from it. Maybe that is the difference between Harbhajan and him. Harbhajan seems to have lost his USP in the aftermath of the IPL and the other riches that the BCCI has laid on for the success of the team. Bhajji has not evolved. If anything he has lost most of his abilities and is surviving on the basis of his Aussie exploits a decade ago and of course the infamy of monkeygate.Today he speaks English quite comfortably unlike before and that sums it all up. He need to ralise that Ashwin is by far the better and more evolving bowler that deserves to be in the Indian team. He should rest content with the Hummers and the on stage dancing that Lalit Modi would approve of. Converts are always better than the laid back believers and so it is with Ashwin who was once an opening batsman. That is what makes him special.

  • POSTED BY TRAM on | June 5, 2011, 22:12 GMT

    If there is one thing which I would like him to immediately address: His *reaction*. Reaction to the attacking batsmen - especially those who want to clobber him for 6 with horizontal bat. Ashwin must react VERY quickly and change his length/line accordingly (as they say by watching batsman's feet.. may be). Of course easily said than done. He has done it some times. But I want him to succeed every time. I am sure he will master that soon and elevate his skill. Good luck Ashwin.

  • POSTED BY on | June 5, 2011, 20:27 GMT

    This guy needs to replace Harbhajan singh in the team soon.. Bhajji is living on previous reputation.... His performances for quite sometime have been nothing but ordinary

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • POSTED BY on | June 5, 2011, 20:27 GMT

    This guy needs to replace Harbhajan singh in the team soon.. Bhajji is living on previous reputation.... His performances for quite sometime have been nothing but ordinary

  • POSTED BY TRAM on | June 5, 2011, 22:12 GMT

    If there is one thing which I would like him to immediately address: His *reaction*. Reaction to the attacking batsmen - especially those who want to clobber him for 6 with horizontal bat. Ashwin must react VERY quickly and change his length/line accordingly (as they say by watching batsman's feet.. may be). Of course easily said than done. He has done it some times. But I want him to succeed every time. I am sure he will master that soon and elevate his skill. Good luck Ashwin.

  • POSTED BY Percy_Fender on | June 6, 2011, 5:02 GMT

    Ashwin is an intelligent and articulate man. Maybe this is bcause of his upbringing and education. For him it seems to me that cricket is the essence not the money that flows from it. Maybe that is the difference between Harbhajan and him. Harbhajan seems to have lost his USP in the aftermath of the IPL and the other riches that the BCCI has laid on for the success of the team. Bhajji has not evolved. If anything he has lost most of his abilities and is surviving on the basis of his Aussie exploits a decade ago and of course the infamy of monkeygate.Today he speaks English quite comfortably unlike before and that sums it all up. He need to ralise that Ashwin is by far the better and more evolving bowler that deserves to be in the Indian team. He should rest content with the Hummers and the on stage dancing that Lalit Modi would approve of. Converts are always better than the laid back believers and so it is with Ashwin who was once an opening batsman. That is what makes him special.

  • POSTED BY on | June 6, 2011, 5:14 GMT

    Awsome .. Awsome... ashwin.. u rock man..!!!!!

  • POSTED BY sircha on | June 6, 2011, 5:38 GMT

    Not long before Bhajji feels the pressure of Ashwin behind his heels. Probably the BCCI realized that Bhajji was feeling the heat and hence made him vice-captain for the WI tour so that he could feel secure about his position in the team!

  • POSTED BY vatsap on | June 6, 2011, 5:42 GMT

    One statement from Harbhajans sums it all when asked, "Are you looking forward to bowl with Ashwin". "There are other spinners in the team also and the team combination has not been decided yet".

    All the Best Ashwin.

  • POSTED BY MasterClass on | June 6, 2011, 5:47 GMT

    I'm a huge Ashwin fan, and with his fearless yet clever attitude will undoubtedly be a big part of India's future spin plans. All of a sudden with the likes of Rahul Sharma, Abdul Iqbala, Bhargav Bharat to supplement/challenge Mishra, Ojha and even Chawla our spin stock looks robust and strong! Bhajji is a legend and by far our best spinner. His performance has been poor lately because he has to play on dead Indian tracks. Give him bouncy tracks and watch him destroy oppositions. Indian curators are finally getting the picture and I guarantee we will see more bouncy pitches in India in the future because it also helps Ishant and Munaf, and the crop of young Indian pacers (Aaron, Yadav, Mithun, Arvind & Unadkat) willing to bend their back!

  • POSTED BY ssenthil on | June 6, 2011, 6:04 GMT

    All the best Ashwin, I can say only one thing, Given a Chance he will outplay H Singh every time. I said the same During 2010 CSK Preview, he can outplay Murali and he Did so I m expecting the same this Time as well.

  • POSTED BY suniljoseph on | June 6, 2011, 6:09 GMT

    OH PEOPLE WHY DO YOU FORGET HOW WELL THE TURBANATOR BOWLED IN THE SEMI FINALS AND GOT RID OF BOOM BOOM AFRIDI BECAUSE YOU KNOW WHEN BOOM BOOM STARTS FIRING A TEAM COMPRISING OF 11 ASHWINS CAN NEVER STOP HIM. SO DONT BECOME EMOTIONAL AND FORGET THE PERFORMACES OF BHAJI HE IS THE MOST SENIOR BOWLER AND HE SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO THE LEAD THE SPIN DEPARTMENT OF INDIAN TEAM AND DONT BECOME IRRATIONAL

  • POSTED BY KunalNanda on | June 6, 2011, 6:37 GMT

    I think Sriram has a mancrush on Ashwin.