Watch out for ‘Ashwin vs KP’
Ahmedabad, Nov 16: Ravichandran Ashwin has come a long way from being dismissed as a limited overs specialist, a tag he had earned due to his success in the IPL. Since his Test debut last year, against West Indies, the off-spinner has come out wicketless from an innings only once – in Sydney.
The biggest testament to Ashwin’s consistency came during the second day of the Ahmdeabad Test, against England, when he got opener Nick Compton bowled with a beauty of an off-spinner. With that wicket, Ashwin became the fastest Indian to bag 50 Test wickets. Anil Kumble got there in 10 matches; this is Ashwin’s ninth.
However, as has been a hallmark of his personality, the 26-year-old refused to read too much into the achievement. In a chat with bcci.tv, Ashwin acknowledged the words of congratulations with the broad smile that accompanies him in his wicket celebration, but he left it at that. He almost looked embarrassed to have overtaken a legend like Kumble.
Ashwin also kept his cards close to his chest when asked about the new mystery ball he plans to unleash this series. As is the wont with his tribe of guileful operators, he left us inquisitive saying, he is waiting for the right time to strut his new weapon and “it might be Kevin Pietersen” tomorrow.
How does it feel to overtake Anil Kumble in some way?
It’s very unfair to say that I was looking forward to it. It just happened and I’m very pleased for myself. There is no surpassing Anil Kumble; I don’t really believe in that because he’s got a lot of wickets and is one the greatest bowlers to have ever played the game. There is no comparison but I’m happy for myself.
What do you make of the England batsmen’s spin-playing abilities?
I thought they actually started off really well today and they looked pretty solid. They’re definitely a very good side and you cannot just run through them. The evening session was very crucial and I thought both Ojha and I bowled really well to get the three wickets.
Then how would you describe their continuous struggle against spin in the subcontinent?
Nowadays, increasingly teams have become stronger at home. These are challenging conditions for England to play in and to top that, we also won a crucial toss. It’s not about mental or technical shortcomings of the England batsmen against spin; it’s just about getting accustomed to it.
Would you like to tell us something about that new delivery that you’re working on?
It’s nothing like a mystery ball but I have been working on something that I haven’t got out yet. It is coming out well and I’m just waiting for the right timing to unleash it. It could be Kevin Pietersen tomorrow.
At this point, where do you think you stand as a Test bowler?
I’ve always gauged myself in different scenarios and situations. At this time the ball is coming out well, and in fact, I’ve been enjoying very good last two years. I have been able to analyse my growth and gauge myself on various factors. As far as this series is concerned, it wouldn’t be right to judge myself based on a particular series or opponent. I’ll probably be looking at myself six months down the line and see where I get.
You have admired Graeme Swann for his classical style of bowling. Is there anything you’d like to pick from him?
I’m watching him closely as to what he is doing. I am also going to ensure every time I go out there to bat that I don’t give my wicket to him. He’s a quality bowler and has got a lot of attributes that really please the eye. This series could be a stern test for him as well. I cannot sit back and say if I want to learn this or that from him but as the series progresses I’ll see if I can pick something up from him.