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BCCI Staff in Hamilton 27 January 2014 - 05:50pm IST

Learnt how to construct spells overseas: Ashwin

Indian off-spinner says looking for wickets in middle-overs no option on unfriendly pitches

Before he dismissed Corey Anderson in Auckland, R Ashwin went through a rare dry patch in international cricket – his last wicket had come on December 8, in the second ODI against South Africa. While India’s most prolific spinner in 2013 isn’t used to going wicketless for so long, he also understands that playing overseas will result in a change of role and reduction in the number of wickets.

"Honestly I was not reading or looking into anything," Ashwin said. "This is probably the best frame of mind I have been in. I have locked away a few things. I had a tour of South Africa which was quite a learning curve for me. I have decided if I am giving my best that is all I can do. I cannot go back reading articles and what people are saying about me. It does not make sense. I just locked myself out. I spoke to Dhoni about a couple of things, to the coach, had chats with a few people I trust. I thought things were going alright. It can happen, you cannot keep taking wickets or making runs all the time. The frame of mind I was in helped me perform the way I did,” Ashwin said, referring to his 65 in Auckland, his first ODI fifty, and bowlng figures of 10-0-47-1.

Admitting the new ODI rules have made life difficult for spinners, especially on wickets that don’t allow the ball to turn, Ashwin said the possibility of picking a few quick wickets in the middle-overs has reduced. "That particular thing falls out of the window with the current scenario. If there is spin and you are playing with the conditions helping you, then of course there is an opportunity to look to get a wicket but if it is stacked against you then you are fighting against something which is like a wall. You cannot box against a wall. You cannot fight against the conditions and go head on and take it on.

"You definitely tend to be targeted as a spinner away from home. With the five-fielder [within the circle] rule you can only look to give a single. You cannot err on lengths. The batsman knows if you have your sweeper up you are not going to err on the shorter side so you are giving away some cues to the batsman in terms of what field you are setting, and you cannot be foolish enough to try and fool the batsman. They are going to look for boundaries. You have to be really smart and try and make sure you do what the team requires. It is easy to say wickets are not coming so I will look for wickets, but you end up giving 20-30 runs extra and you have to get it back at the end of the day.”

However, the spinner said he has been working on alternate plans and learning the art of bowling overseas. “I have sorted out what length and what kind of bowling needs to be done. There are certain ways you need to construct a spell abroad. I have learnt that and put that into practice."

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