Premier off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has made astute technical changes to his arsenal in order to be best equipped to better his record and excel in Australian conditions this time, said teammate Cheteshwar Pujara.
Ranked no.7 in the ICC Test rankings, Ashwin doesn’t boast of a convincing record down under – 21 wickets at 54 from six Tests in Australia, which is chalk to cheese in comparison with his career bowling average of 25. The off-spinner also strikes quite badly at almost 97 in the country.
But the 31-year-old is a better bowler than before and it is this more evolved version of Ashwin that Pujara feels will excel.
"If you see his recent bowling, I think he has made a lot of changes. I can't describe what it is, not in front of the media. But he has made some adjustments which has helped him," Pujara said in the news conference ahead on Monday, December 3, "He has played enough cricket in England which is obviously different conditions, not much help for the spinner. So I think when he's playing in Australia, he knows what he has to do."
"He has also played a series in 2015 (here) so he's very confident now. And whatever adjustments he had to make, he has already done it," he added.
Pujara also reiterated how the tour encounter against Cricket Australia XI, where Ashwin picked up 2/122 in the first innings, has helped the visitors assess their plans and preparation before the Test series, and said, "We got what we wanted in the practice game and the trainer and the physio has been monitoring the workload. We thought that it was best to take a break today and train for the next two days and be fresh for the test match."
"Conceding 500 runs in a warm-up game doesn't mean anything ... we are not very much worried about it. Our bowlers know what they have to do ... they know what line and lengths to bowl in Australia."
"We utilized all three days (in Sydney) properly. We also had some net practice while the game was going on so I don't think it was a concern at all. We got enough practice and we did what we wanted," he signed off.
The Border-Gavaskar kickstarts with the first Test at Adelaide from Thursday, December 6.