India’s chief spin bowler R Ashwin endures highly forgettable Ranchi Test in which he could claim only two wickets
Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin bowls during the fifth day’s play in the third India-Australia Test at Ranchi yesterday. Pic/AFP
Since June 2016 R Ashwin has bowled 5199 deliveries across all formats. That is a lot of deliveries and that seems to be hampering India’s greatest asset against Australia.
Ashwin’s five-wicket haul in Bangalore notwithstanding, his form against Australia has not been at par with the earlier series at home.
India skipper Virat Kohli felt that while workloads should be monitored it will not stop him from turning to his prime bowler in search of wickets.
“We have got to see how many games we want to play them in terms of the shorter formats and going forward if we have a hectic season, because they are very valuable Test bowlers for us. You can’t think of the fact that he bowled 3,000 balls in the season and I need to make him stop because if you want to win a game, you need to push guys.” Kohli said.
One thing Australia have been able to do well against Ashwin is that the left-handers have plonked their front foot down the pitch and not across to the off-stump which has taken the leg-before decision out of the equation. That has made Ashwin too dependent on trying to pitch the ball on the line of leg-stump and spin it across the batsmen.
That has resulted in him bowling far too many deliveries down the leg-side rather than focusing on the fourth stump line from around the wicket.
Against New Zealand and England, he had managed to zip the ball past the batsmen but now with a wearing body, the whiz is missing.
Accordingly to Kohli, it was the lack of pace in the pitch that seemed to impede Ashwin’s ability to spin the ball past the bat.
“When the ball was hard, it was turning a lot faster. In the second session it was not so hard, so to generate pace off the wicket becomes difficult for a bowler. When you get to the fifth day, as it is the pace becomes lesser,” Kohli said.
Ashwin is a great analyst and one can be sure that he is going to watch a lot of videos to come back stronger for the deciding Test in Dharamsala. The whole of India must be hoping he finds a solution, even if it is as simply as how to play the holding role to Jadeja.
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