Time for Ravichandran Ashwin to prove he’s an asset overseas

first_imgAs India prepare to take on Australia for the second ODI of the five-match series, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni would hope for a better show from his bowlers, particularly the spinners.Spin was India’s pride in the historic series triumphs over Sri Lanka and South Africa last year. Leading the charge was Ravichandran Ashwin, who finished as the highest wicket-taker in 2015 and climbed to the top of the charts in the ICC Bowlers’ rankings in Test cricket. But the Chennai off-spinner was taken to the cleaners by Steve Smith and George Bailey on a flat WACA pitch in Perth.After Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli’s 207-run stand helped India reach 309/3, debutant pacer Barinder Sran removed openers Aaron Finch and David Warner early to place the visitors in a strong position. But it all went wrong therafter as the spinners – Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja leaked 129 runs from 18 overs.Ashwin was unplayable in Sri Lanka and at home against the Proteas. On pitches that turned square (and earned the ire of the International Cricket Council), he got the ball to turn and bounce menacingly; the variations bamboozled one of the dangerous batting line-ups in the world.Dhoni has always relied on spin to bail him out of trouble. He has even rebuked his pacers in public and has often seemed helpless when they were attacked by opposition batsmen. Ashwin was his asset in such situations, Dhoni had said before the start of the series – on Tuesday it all fell [email protected] wishes you all a very Happy Pongal pic.twitter.com/F65FBdEhrm&; BCCI (@BCCI) January 14, 2016Gone was the sting and bite from Ashwin’s bowling. His nine overs cost 68 runs and the two wickets came when it was too late for India. It was a flat deck with little help for the bowlers, especially the slower breed but a man of his experience was expected to do better.Ashwin is the undisputed leader of the Indian bowling attack – even Kohli, the Test captain acknowledges that. His form will be as crucial as the batmen’s.As the leader of the attack, he can expect to be the target of Australia’s aggressive batsmen. That is what happened in Peth. The pacers had given the Aussies little leeway – Sran and Bhuvaneshwar Kumar bowled tight, probing lines. Smith and Bailey had to get a move-on and their first opportunity came when Rohit was introduced in the 12th over of the innings. They went after him and later pressed the accelerator further when Ashwin and Jadeja came on to bowl.Perth was a flat deck and beyond a point there is very little that spinners can do on such surfaces. But another belter has been prepared for Gabba and there will once again be very little assistance for Ashwin. His critics argued that he was not as good as sub-continental pitches made him look while some former cricketers believed he had developed enough skills to shine overseas. In his first test, Ashwin failed.It is time for Ashwin to deliver and show he deserves the rankings and the acclaim. He is the top-ranked Test bowler, features in the top 10 in the ODI rankings and is No.2 in the T20 rankings. There is little time to recover between these matches but Ashwin has enough experience.Ashwin’s home state Tamil Nadu is celebrating Pongal today – maybe the festival will add some luck to Ashwin’s kitty and help him overcome those overseas miseries as India seek to bounce back on another flat pitch.last_img read more

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