By returning to his roots, Ravichandran Ashwin spun India to a significant Test win. He is still a young man in Test cricket, intelligent and discerning but young nonetheless. And in a mere 13 Tests he has seen extraordinary success and a little plateau. In Chennai he found another
It is not easy being Ashwin for he has to deliver across formats that require him to bowl differently. In the twenty over game he must unfurl his
range, every ball must be different, he must anticipate the shot. He doesn't spin his web, he reacts. The variations that made him so successful
in that format were, ironically, making him ineffective in Test cricket, and it is to his credit, and that of his coach to whom he offers thanks, that he was able to see through it.
In Chennai, the carrom ball, the slow release ball and other such short-format friends made fleeting appearances. He went back to the off-break, the generously flighted ball and dipped below 80 kmph. Ironic as it might seem, by limiting himself, he rediscovered himself, and in doing so reminded all of us that we must go back to school from time to time, go back to first principles. And told us that for all the attention that batsmen force upon us, the bowlers need to adjust to formats just as much, if not more.
Interestingly Ashwin, like another illustrious son of Chennai, Venkataraghavan, is quite tall and thus endowed, his normal trajectory is likely to be downward. To toss the ball and get it to land consistently where he desires it to is exemplary. I don't recall him bowling a full toss and he only landed short occasionally. It was old-fashioned bowling and like good fashion, it was the way to go!
Normally a 12-wicket haul makes it your match. And yet, such was the brilliance of Dhoni's innings, so controlled and yet so ferocious was his
assault, that Ashwin will run the risk of becoming the supporting actor in this Test. I suspect he won't mind though, for Dhoni's was a once-in-a-lifetime innings. If he can challenge that, and deliver another, the game and all of us will be richer.
Professional Management Group