India vs South Africa: How does R Ashwin prepare for a Test? Off-spinner reveals elaborate process
R Ashwin was not part of India’s plans when they travelled to West Indies. This was a hot topic of conversation all across Indian cricketing fraternity and there were varied opinions over the off-spinner’s role in this Indian bowling attack. However, ahead of the first Test, captain Virat Kohli said that Ashwin remains an integral member of the bowling cog, especially in home conditions and the off-spinner hit his stride immediately by bagging a 7-wicket haul in the first innings.
India vs South Africa, 1st Test, Day 5: Live score and updates
Ashwin is a studious character, he loves to study, analyse and visualise opposition batsmen and then frame his own plans. “ I Start listening to their press conferences, start watching their practice sessions to see what they’ve done. I watch videos, go to different websites to study. I also see their record over the past six months, how they have gone about dealing with off-spinners, with spinners in general -in South Africa, away from South Africa, what sort of troubles they’ve had and identify attacking zones for bowler,” he told the host broadcasters on day 5.
Even when away from the game, the offie wants to be involved and stay ahead of the game. He confessed that he makes it a point to study the strengths and weaknesses of a particular batsman well before the match.
He identified the areas on the pitch which he targets and how he tends to change and adapt his strategies if things do not work for him.
“If it is a six-ball period, I would go towards the good length area, prodding there, looking for their inside and outside edge, open the gate for bowled. This how generally the off-spinners operate. I concentrate on the stumps for a period of time and then go wider, shoulders do not open, slip into play, shoulder opens up and the ball spins, it brings the short leg into play. Once the shoulder opens, not all the strokes will be under control, catching mid-wicket, short mid-wicket will be in play, short leg. Once a batsman is scared of his pads, the bat starts going in a funny fashion, at an angle. These are things I work on. When the batsmen start changing their strategies, that’s when I start winning,” he further added.
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An extremely vocal character, Ashwin also said that one of this biggest assets was the fact that he could identify the strategies a particular batsman as soon as he plays out two to three overs.
“Once a batsman plays out two to three overs, I pick up their strategy, either I break my spell and come back with a different strategy or immediately go for something different. One of the most important things is to have all tools in order - my arm ball, my off-break, my top spin, my carrom ball. Plans are pretty much similar,” the off-spinner, who became the joint-fastest to reach 350 Test wickets, added.