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Work on my action paying off: Ashwin

India off-spinner says he has worked on making his action more front-on

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.

“I think I have bowled well since the Oval Test. There has been a considerable amount of work that has gone into it; work of two months on trying to get my action right among other things. The results have just started to show,” Ashwin said.

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.”

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Preview: England vs India, 4th ODI

India eye series win at Birmingham

What

4th ODI of the five-match series between India and England

When

September 2, 2014

Where

Edgbaston, Birmingham

The Teams

India


It’s quite amazing what coloured clothing can do to Team India. Just a fortnight ago there was a cloud of problems hovering over the team. Players were under scrutiny, temperament and caliber were being questioned and there were doubts if this team can deliver in ODIs after a dismal Test series. However, over the week, India have shown what a terrific one day outfit they are. Infact they have given England a lesson in how to play the fifty over format in their own backyard. Yes, the Test series wounds are still fresh in the minds of some of the players but it has helped a few to use it as a catalyst to deliver in ODIs. Suddenly there is a spring in the stride; catches are being held on, runs are flowing off the Indian bats and captain MS Dhoni is marching his troops with poise. Two ODIs down, two to go and India have taken an unassailable 2-0 lead in the five-match ODI series. India cannot lose the series from here. They are just one win away from a historic ODI series win and they would want to finish things off at Edgbaston itself. India don’t seem to have real problems having won two ODIs comprehensively. The team combination might be given a thought especially after Rohit Sharma returning home with an injured finger. It would be interesting to see if India play Murali Vijay - Rohit Sharma’s replacement and ask him to open the innings. If Vijay is asked to open, Rahane will get back in the middle-order with the rest of the batting line-up retaining their positions. It is very unlikely to see any of the new faces featuring in the next ODI. Mohit Sharma limped off the field at Trent Bridge but came back later to have a good day on the field affecting a run-out and holding on to a catch. If Mohit is fit enough to play, there is very little chance that India would tinker with the playing eleven.

England

There is nothing going England’s way. They ruled the Test series, but look completely out of sorts in ODIs. India has successfully managed to ‘spin’ a web around the England batsmen and this continues to be a worry for them. England captain Alastair Cook did accept his side’s frailty to spin bowling and his batsmen failing to shine with the bat. Rightly so, twice in the ODIs so far, England have let go of good starts with the bat and allowed the Indian spinners to thrive on them. Cook added in the post-match press conference that his side will need to regain confidence and work a way to play spin better in the remaining two ODIs. With the middle order not contributing much with the bat, England’s biggest worry lies in the batting department. Captain Alastair Cook and Alex Hales have managed to give England starts but the batsmen to follow have not really got going. India look a completely different side now as England find themselves at bay. One more slip and the ODI series will be out of England’s grasp.

Key Players

India


These are good times for India. Results are going in their favour and some of their marquee batsmen are amongst runs. A big positive that India could take from the previous ODI at Trent Bridge would be the sight of their star player Virat Kohli showing glimpses of form. He looked stable at the crease, his feet were moving and the six that he hit off Tredwell might have felt good not just for the members of the dressing room but for Kohli as well. He is yet to make a notable performance in the series so far. His teammates feel that he is batting well and a big one is round the corner. Kohli would want to prove his teammates right.

England

‘Spin’ has been the talk in the two ODIs played so far. India have used it well to their advantage while the England batsmen have been found wanting. England would not be looking too far in the dressing room to counter India’s spin attack. When it comes to playing spin, one player in the England ranks who plays spin better than most players in the squad is Ian Bell. Bell has not had the best of ODI series so far. He was bowled in the second ODI leaving a straight ball and was run-out in the third after scoring 28. He has been an effective player of spin bowling over the years and would be looking to lead the England counter-attack at Edgbaston.

Stat Overview

1. Average first innings score at Birmingham:


Overall – 233

Since 2000- 233

2. Average second innings score at Birmingham:

Overall- 219

Since 2000- 193

[Note: All shortened / incomplete innings have been excluded]

3. Result summary at Birmingham:

Matches

Mts

Won by side batting 1st

Won by side batting 2nd

Tied

NR

Overall

50

22

22

1

5

Since 2000

25

10

10

0

5


4. Head-to-head:

Matches

Played

Ind won

Eng won

Tied

NR

Overall

89

49

35

2

3

In England

36

14

18

1

3

At Birmingham

3

2

1

0

0


5. Last meeting between both sides at Birmingham:

Brief scores: June 23, 2013 – India 129/7, England 124/8. India won by 5 runs

6. Form guide (most recent listed first):

India: Won, Won, Abandoned, NR, Won

England: Lost, Lost, Abandoned, Lost, Lost

7. Pace vs Spin at Birmingham (Who has been more effective)


Since 2000

Wkts

Avg

RPO

Best

Pace

232

27.72

4.80

4-19

Spin

70

31.82

4.44

5-11


The Squads

India: M.S. Dhoni (C & WK), Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Sanju Samson, Ravindra Jadeja, R. Ashwin, Stuart Binny, Dhawal Kulkarni, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Ajinkya Rahane, Karn Sharma, Mohit Sharma, Umesh Yadav.

England (4th ODI): Alastair Cook (C), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Gary Ballance, Ian Bell, Jos Buttler (WK), Steven Finn, Harry Gurney, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, , Eoin Morgan, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, James Tredwell, Chris Woakes.