Indian cricket team’s ace spinner R Ashwin has been in top form with ball in County cricket of late. The off-spinner went on to claim 34 wickets in five matches for Nottinghamshire at an average of 24.58. This experience will serve utmost purpose and confidence to a player that was harshly benched in the two-match Test series against West Indies last month.
The senior pacer, who has bags of experience under his belt in the longest format, saw left-arm spin all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja get the chance ahead of him which highlighted the premier spinner’s present role in the team. To not be the number one choice against a side where he has dominated the show, it was hard to see him not play the two matches.
Also, it was a bizarre call made by the management which cited the decision was based on team balance and composition.
However, India went on to win the Test series by a 2-0 margin. Post the victory, Ashwin headed back to England in order to continue his County journey. All eyes will be on Ashwin now as the Indian side takes on South Africa in a three-match Test series, starting from October 2 onward in Vizag.
It is an important series for both teams. India will want to be on a run, whereas, Proteas would look to start well in their Test Championship journey.
Here we analyse how Ashwin can silent all doubters in the Test series vs South Africa and cement his legacy.
Favourable conditions set to greet Ashwin
When it comes to Test matches at home, Ashwin has been a real steel for Team India. He has bossed the scenario here with some fine bowling display over the years. In 38 Test matches at home, the senior spinner has accounted for 234 Test wickets under his belt. His average of 22.68 stands out.
Ashwin will be raring to have a crack at the Proteas and make his presence felt at home. The conditions as usual will suit him. Another thing to look forward to is the partnership with the ball he shares alongside Jadeja. The two have done well as a pair for a while now.
In the 2015 series against South Africa at home, Ashwin had claimed 31 scalps to claim a heroic performance. The Indian team will require similar approach from the veteran, whose tweaks in his bowling could turn out to be crucial. Ash needs the trust of his captain and the management. The management also needs to back him wholly.
Ashwin has been bowling well of late
The premier spinner had a strong outing in the County which will be of immense help to him. This was a big move for Ash and a positive decision by both the player and the management to give him game time. Ash was always criticized for not being effective outside the sub-continent.
However, the veteran spinner has shown he can do well after impressing largely for his team. His stocks have risen over the years when it comes to bowling outside Asia and this was a stellar show in English conditions.
What it does is that, it brings Ashwin with a clear frame of mind. He is enjoying his cricket and experiencing what the game has to offer. Make no mistake, Ashwin will want to reclaim his spot as the number one in the side and the series presents him with a good opportunity.
Ashwin a crucial member of the Indian cricket team
Ash needs to play every Test for India when fit. There is no other way in keeping him out. He adds so much of dynamism in the game. Both with the ball and bat, we all know the credentials the player holds. He is a crucial member of this side for the ICC World Test Championship 2019-21.
What we want to see is a fit Ashwin not being bothered by injuries and cementing his place as the principal bowler. Ash is real quality of a cricketer and has taken 342 wickets in 65 matches. His presence will lift the unit at any given day. There is no way he should be on the bench and see others get a chance. He is a rock in conditions at home.
His success in the sub-continent is enough to see him go about his job and deliver. It’s simple for Ashwin. He needs to play and then trust his form to pick up wickets and silence all the doubters.
India have important Test assignments in the near future and if they want to finish in top two of the Test Championship, then skipper Virat Kohli needs his main man to lead the spin show. You need match-winners in the side and Ashwin is a perfect embodiment of the same.