India offspinner R Ashwin has admitted that his team may have miscalculated par scores at the start of their tour of Australia.
Ashwin suggested the thinktank may have placed too much stake on the scores from the Carlton Mid Tri-series just before the World Cup, when 300 was only achieved once across six completed matches. Although the only successful chases of 300-plus totals since then have come only in this series, teams batting first have got 300 or more 23 times, including a couple of 400s in Australia.
"In the past 300 or 260s have been winning scores when we came and played an ODI series here," Ashwin said. "I think we played in that mindset coming into the series, trying to post a score rather than trying to overachieving and falling short. I thought we did pretty well to post 310s and 320s, just that the par scores were 330s."
India put up 309 in Perth, which Australia overhauled to set a new record at the venue. The narrative continued when India made 308 in Brisbane, and Australia coasted through again. India's 295 for 6 in Melbourne had seemed quite competitive until Glenn Maxwell came good. Only when they reached Canberra, when they looked on course to hunt down 349 before collapsing, and later in Sydney when they did hunt down 331, did India get their calculations right.
"As you saw in the last game, even at Canberra and Sydney, I think we would have achieved 350s," Ashwin said. "Maybe that's the reason. Obviously the wickets have gone flatter. So I think it was just a question of not calculating the par scores properly."
Ashwin hinted that premeditated plans had played a part in his own middling returns in the ODI series. He had come to Australia on the back of completing the 2014-15 calendar year as the world's leading wicket-taker in Test cricket, including back-to-back Man of the Series against Sri Lanka and South Africa. He had hoped to beat the batsmen in flight, but with very little help from the pitches, he realised he had to switch to containing runs.
"In Perth, I came in with a lot of confidence. I was very confident of beating the batsman in flight and all that. What happened is you just miscalculate the amount [of help from the conditions]. The boundaries were pretty short straight. There is a very fine line between trying and being smart and trying and being foolish so they took me on, which I was happy with, because I thought I could get them out and I did end up getting a couple of wickets in the second spell.
"When I came down to Brisbane, it was more calculated. We had put 300 runs on the board and we wanted to restrict them as much as possible. I don't think…. You know, honestly if I continue talking I am going to give up headlines for all you people so that's something I don't want to do. I think it happens only with bowlers. I think at the end of the day, unless we give runs you guys don't get entertained. So what else do we do?" Ashwin finished a little coyly.
With a Twenty20 series to be won, India are hoping to fine tune their tactics quickly and Ashwin felt adjusting to large Australian outfields was an important factor as a spinner.
"Probably when we play in India a one is as good as a dot ball, but probably here a two is as good as a dot ball, because what happens is you don't want to you catch up with the game when concede a two as a spinner and try and bowl a dot ball because that will end up going for a boundary. These are some things I continuously follow the Big Bash and try to figure out how the spinners went about it because at the end of the day there is a trend and pattern to how cricket is being played at every part of the world and it is important to try and gauge it."