Finger spinners need encouragement to flourish in ODI cricket, says R Ashwin

Ashwin hasn’t featured in a limited-overs game for India since July 2017.

Ravichandran Ashwin | Getty

India’s seasoned Test spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has revealed the reason behind the ineffectiveness of finger-spinners in limited-overs cricket lately. Ashwin, who hasn’t featured in a limited-overs game for India since July 2017, feels finger-spinners need encouragement like leg-spinners to flourish in white-ball cricket again.

Considering the way India’s wrist spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal have become the architects of India’s awe-inspiring show in ODI cricket of late, things look rather bleak for Ashwin for the next year’s World Cup in England. It is worth mentioning here that the Men in Blue have lost just 5 ODIs in their last 26 one-day internationals since last year's Champions Trophy. Nonetheless, Ashwin is confident that things will turn around for him and his ilk.

"The future of finger-spinners lies in the perception of people. More so because it's based on perception about what people think of what's relevant and what's not. Things will turn around,” Ashwin told Reuters in an interview.

"At one point of time, leg-spinners didn't have a place (in limited-overs cricket), now they do. Finger-spinners, maybe you all think don't have a role, will come back too."

"People have been allowing 64 runs for two wickets in 10 overs of leg-spin too. If you give the same courage to the finger-spinners, they'll do the same thing. It's all about perception. I think handling bowlers is all about how you handle them and you how perceive them," he added.

During the Iran Cup match between Rest of India and Vidarbha in Nagpur on Wednesday (March 14), Ashwin was displaying his leg-spin skills. When asked about this radical switch, Ashwin said he wanted to add another dimension in his arsenal.

"I've always been that kind of a character. I've always tried bowling different things, it's not something new," the Tamil Nadu born offie said.

"The game is the boss and if the game's demands are such and such, you don't have a choice, you'll have to try and evolve with time," he explained.

Ashwin, who has been given the responsibility to lead the Kings XI Punjab franchise in the 11th edition of Indian Premier League, also stated that he had always been a risk taker.

"There was an element of risk once I chose to play cricket itself, because if I didn't end up going all the way, I wouldn't have any choices right now. But I did take up the game. Whatever I have done in life has always had risk and I really liked taking it on," he asserted.

Kuldeep and Chahal had claimed 33 wickets out of the 64 wickets that had fallen in the six-match ODI series against South Africa last month. Owing to their stellar show, India had won the ODI series with a stunning margin of 5-1.

After the third ODI in Cape Town, India skipper Virat Kohli had said that both the wrist spinners will be crucial for the next year’s World Cup in England. However, Ashwin isn’t losing sleep thinking about his place in the team for the showpiece event.

"None of these things actually motivate me more than myself. It's all about wanting to get better. I've mentioned all the time that it's about wanting to bowl those four overs (in T20s) or 10 overs (in ODIs), whatever that be, and be almost unplayable. That's been top of my mind all the time.

"It's not so much about who I represent, what I represent. Yes, wearing the Indian jersey gives me utmost pride, there's no doubt about it, but these are not moves that I aim to or intend to try and do in order to take a wake-up call. I don't do PR activity either, it's not me. It's only me that wants to get better every single day, that's the hunger that's left," Ashwin concluded.


By Salman Anjum - 15 Mar, 2018

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