R Ashwin was one of the star performers for India in the back-to-back Test series wins in Australia and against England at home. But, even as he picked up 44 wickets at 18.56 in seven Test matches, his expertise (or lack of it) with DRS did raise an eyebrow or two. He knows it, and - tongue firmly in cheek, wide smile in place - shifts the blame to Rishabh Pant for the poor success rate with reviews of late.
"I think we need to change the lens with which people are looking at me with the DRS," Ashwin, a guest at the India Today Conclave 2021, said. "Sometimes what people are telling us might not be true, because before this series against England, my DRS was extremely good. Because when you take DRS, you need to rely on the keeper's resources.
"Because I ask valid questions in terms of saying… I know whether the ball has struck in line or not, but with respect to the line from the angle that I am bowling and the bounce, the keeper really needs to help."
And then came the light-hearted blame game: "And Rishabh is actually letting me down on a lot of occasions. I took him aside and I said, 'we need to sit together on a crash course with DRS, because Ravi bhai (Shastri) has a few complaints with me going for DRS'."
Cue a lot of laughs, as expected. Jokes aside, Ashwin does want to fix the issue. "So, honestly, yeah, if there is one improvement I would like to make it's go for better DRS in the future series, I will hold myself in check."
Since the start of 2018 till the start of the England series, in the 19 Test matches Ashwin played, 20 reviews were asked for by the Indians when he was bowling. Of those, four were overturned upon appeal, five were deemed to be umpires' calls, and 11 reviews were squandered. In the four Tests against England, India got one review right when Ashwin was bowling, while nine were lost and one was an umpire's call.
Next up for Ashwin, who is not a part of India's white-ball teams, is the IPL, where he will be a part of the Delhi Capitals again, with Pant as well. There's something for the two of them to chat about.