India off-spinner R. Ashwin forsees another “purple patch” for himself in Test cricket once cricket resumes.
In a videocast on ESPNcricinfo with former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar, he also expressed fears about cricket being restricted to T20 leagues within national boundaries after the COVID-19 pandemic. “I really do hope that [the pandemic] does not transpire into something where you have more leagues and not much of international cricket because the borders are closed,” Ashwin said.
However, Ashwin doesn’t see cricket resuming any time soon. “I think we are still some distance away. In terms of the health of world cricket I think it is going to take longer than what people might assume. So, that’s an imminent possibility, but I don’t know what the further future has in store.”
Ashwin said he was far from being done in the Test format. “If my body is in great space, I think Test cricket I just have another streak of great purple patch I am looking at,” he said.
“I believe I am a hardened professional in T20 cricket, and good at what I do. Wherever I play I will be able to deliver, with the experience that I have got and the courage that I have.”
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He said the ICC’s plans to trim Test cricket by a day doesn’t excite him. “The thought of four-day cricket doesn’t really excite me. I am a spinner and if you take a day out, I don’t know if it’s going to be healthy, you are taking out a very fascinating aspect of the game,” Ashwin said.
Asked about Indian cricket, he said, “The current state of Indian cricket is as healthy as it can be. Hope we can pick it up from where we had left once sport resumes.”
The new ball
Ashwin also spoke about his love for operating with the new ball and explained the mechanics involved.
“I like a new ball because of the fizz that I get on it. One of my strengths is to be able to put revs on the hard ball as it responds better to the pitch. But I generally like to use the arm ball in first two or three overs because when you use the arm ball, it challenges both the edges of the batsman and forces him to go across the line which is rendered risky.”
Ashwin added, “The others that I use are the floaters that swing, the one that pitches in and goes out or the other one that lands on the seam and gets to go the other way. So these balls become very effective. With a new ball I use my middle finger more than the index finger but when I bowl with an older ball, I try and get over the top. Sometimes, I don’t use index finger to go over the top, it is behind and I still put the revs and that’s when the ball actually goes the other way.”
He shared his views about the need to be versatile in the T20 format, where the bowlers have little margin for error, and about finger and wrist spinners. “In T20 cricket, you need to call yourself a bowler. At times you should be able to bowl a bouncer or a spinner. Wrist spin is successful not because it is challenging both edges of the bat but because of its unpredictable nature when bowling length. And this makes wrist spin extremely relevant.”
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