Fresh start versus South Africa: Ashwin
With back-to-back victories in their warm-up matches, against Sri Lanka and Australia, India will be high on confidence when they begin their campaign for the ICC Champions Trophy 2013 on Thursday. The Men in Blue will take on South Africa in their first game of the league phase in Cardiff.
Having scored 300-plus runs in both the pre-tournament games, the MS Dhoni-led side has reiterated its batting dominance. And by scalping off the Australian line-up for less than 100 runs they have also displayed their bowling abilities. Although they are happy to get off to a good start, Team India will bear in mind that the next game is a fresh challenge.
While speaking to the media after their comprehensive win against Australia, Ravichandran Ashwin said, “It’s a practice game, so it is always good to get what best you can out of it. So, from our point of view, I think we have to get as much as we can from this game looking at what the result is, because at the end of the day, day after tomorrow this doesn’t matter. (We have) got to start again.”
Speaking about the Indian pace attack, the off-spinner said, “Umesh (Yadav) bowled really well today. He has always been one of those bowlers who can give that extra bit of sting to our pace attack. And to knock off a couple of wickets early is always going to be a help, and probably with two spinners and a third seamer we can always put pressure on the game later on. So, with respect to that Umesh bowled really well and Ishant (Sharma) has been doing pretty well in the one-dayers starting from (the series against England in India) England as well so. He is a pretty experienced campaigner he knows what he is doing.”
Asked about the change in his role in English conditions, Ashwin said, “I think it is about matching against your opponents. If both of us (India spinners) can really cancel out the opponent spinners or the opponent’s fourth or fifth bowler, then I think we are doing a fine job.”
Asked if the big boundaries in England would pose a challenge, he said, “I think you need to adapt to it as you get on. The boundaries are really different. Some parts are really big, whereas some areas are really short. You need to figure that out as to where exactly you need to put your fielders and adjust your length according to that.”
India will be taking on South Africa, West Indies and Pakistan in the league matches, which would mean them facing a minimum of 30 overs of quality pace. Speaking about facing these teams, Ashwin said, “I think we have batted pretty well so far. Yes, we have lost early wickets; probably we can just start to address that and just be a little cautious. The coach has mentioned a few things that he is pretty used to about England conditions. He said that the longer you bat, it is going to get easier in England; it will never get tough like it does in the subcontinent.”
Dinesh Karthik has played a key role in India’s victories in the practice games with two unbeaten centuries. Lauding the batter he said, “He is hitting it clean. He is probably in a purple patch. We just hope that he goes on getting hundreds in every game. As I said, taking as much as you can from this game is important, but you need to know that you have to start afresh going into (the match) day after tomorrow. “
While speaking about coach Duncan Fletcher, Ashwin said, “He is someone who has a lot of experience; he is passing on the experience. As far as the coach or man manager is concerned, he can only pass on knowledge. He cannot catch the bat or ball, or do anything for you. He has always been passing on the knowledge; it is up to us to take it and just go forward from there.”