Ravichandran Ashwin has been working extremely hard in the off-season(his off-season rather) to develop new skills in order to cope with the changing cricketing world.
Cricket all over the world has seen a resurgence in wrist spinners, especially in the limited overs format, where batsmen are looking to take on the bowlers, and thereby giving these wrist spinners the chance to take wickets(despite going for a few extra runs).
And captains have been tilting towards these wrist spinners at the expense of a lot of finger spinners, because taking wickets during the middle overs is something that has become of paramount importance in today’s game.
Ashwin has been ousted from the Indian limited overs side after the 2017 Champions Trophy, with Virat Kohli and the team management having put a lot of faith in the Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal. And boy have they delivered!
The duo have been in imperious form in limited overs cricket, and have also taken to their first real overseas challenge really well, causing the South African batting unit a lot of trouble in the first 2 ODI’s.
Ashwin has realised this paradigm shift towards the wrist spinners and is now himself working on that variation, something that he is ready to dish out during IPL 2018.
“This is part of my plan going into the IPL. I am just trying to build my armoury. I used to bowl good leg breaks with my off-spin action when I was playing league cricket in Chennai. Over a period of time, in a search to get my stock ball right, I obviously had to cut out a lot of those things. I had possessed a lot more variations. Having bowled off-break as the stock ball for almost 10 years, trying to change things around is challenging. But I don’t really settle for anything. At no point in my career, I thought ‘this is it’ and decided to settle for the rest of my career” Ashwin said.
Ashwin has been remodelling his action too in order to make the leg spin delivery seamless.
“As of now, everything is cooked by me. I try to take feedback from our coaches in my academy. Balaji has been of great help. First time I was bowling leg spin, we were working on some actions on how to gain momentum. How I can make a repeatable action work for me,” he added.
The journey though hasn’t been smooth-sailing with Ashwin having to undergo a very painful period trying to bowl leg-spin.
“For example, my arm doesn’t go 45 degrees which is perfect for a leg-spinner. I am more upright. I have to adjust my action. It has been a painful ride. One day it will come out well in the nets, and the next day it won’t come out all right. It will be frustrating. I have gone through the entire journey and have reached a place where I can land the ball where I want to,” Ashwin concluded.