After warming the bench for the first three Tests, R Ashwin came into India’s playing XI in the Manchester Test against England. After shaking off the rustiness in his comeback Test, Ashwin picked up three wickets in the fifth Test and repeated the feat in the third ODI to win the man of the match award.
On the eve of the fourth ODI, Ashwin revealed the work he has put into his action over the last two months and was pleased the results are finally showing.
Explaining the change he made in his action, Ashwin said he has tried to minimized the alterations he makes in it depending on the format, by making it more front-on.
“I used to make bigger changes in my action according to formats but now I try to make the changes as subtle as possible. I have had chats with my coach back home and we figured this action can be efficient in all formats. I am trying to get more front-on now to be more accurate and extract more from the wicket.
“It feels really fresh having worked hard. It is just about instilling a belief within me, which is quite easy for me when I am convinced about something. I was really convinced about what I was doing and persevered with it. It has helped me extract as much as possible from the wicket,” Ashwin said.
Talking about the way the Indian spinners – frontline and part-time – troubled the England batsmen at Trent Bridge in the third ODI, Ashwin said restricting the opposition in the middle-overs with spin is India’s strength.
“It is a comfortable situation for us,” he said. “It has been our strength in the last three-four years and we have always operated in that fashion. There are situations when the batsmen get going and we don’t get wickets and those are really hard times. If we get a wicket or two and put a stranglehold on the batsmen, it is a really comfortable domain for us.”
Ashwin also said that at least a couple of early wickets from the pacers make things more comfortable for the spinners, especially in overseas conditions.
“The ideal situation for the spinners to come on would be when the pacers have taken two-three wickets. That’s what happened in Cardiff when Shami bowled that spell and took two wickets. If that doesn’t happen, you will look to play a restrictive role. Especially when playing away from home, the initial breakthroughs can be very helpful for the spinners to play around with.”
India have looked a completely different unit in the field in the ODI series. While a number of catches went down in the Tests, especially in the slip cordon, the catching and ground fielding has been nothing short of brilliant in the one-dayers. It led Ashwin to acknowledge the fielders’ contribution for his wickets.
“At Cardiff Shami made a difficult catch look easy and in the last match Raina took a brilliant one. The moment he took that catch I forgot that I had got a wicket. I just went berserk seeing the way he caught it. It’s refreshing,” he said.
When asked the reason behind India’s contrasting show in the field in the Tests and ODIs, Ashwin said, “It is tough especially when things are going wrong with the team, which is how the Test series petered out for us. But with some fresh legs coming in with new attitude, it has helped.”