Ravichandran Ashwin: I can also bowl left-arm

"I have bowled left-arm orthodox and I can bowl left-arm chinaman also," said the off-spinner. Ashwin, who bowls right-arm off-break, said he will try bowling with his left-arm sometime in the future.

R. Ashwin... revealing a secret!   -  C. Venkatachalapathy

Ravichandran Ashwin, on Saturday, revealed that he has bowled left-arm orthodox and can bowl left-arm chinaman. Ashwin, answering questions from his fans through a video in the Indian cricket team’s Facebook page, said he would have bowled with both arms “long time ago” if not for the fear of “experts in India”.

“I have bowled left-arm orthodox and I can bowl left-arm chinaman also,” said the off-spinner. Ashwin, who bowls right-arm off-break, said he will try bowling with his left-arm sometime in the future.

“I don’t know if I will try it anytime soon but will definitely do it someday,” he said. “I have shelved it for now to improve my off-spin.” He said bowling with both arms will be an advantage in the future with the increase in T20 cricket.

‘Have added leg-break and flipper to my armoury’

Ashwin also said he has added the leg-break and the flipper to his armoury. “I have been trying (to bowl leg-breaks) for the last two-three years. And I have been successful on a few occasions. But I am still trying to master it,” he said.

On enjoying bowling to Glenn Maxwell and Steve Smith:

“In recent times, I have really enjoyed bowling to Glenn Maxwell. I’ve had a good battle with him. It’s been good fun. Steve Smith has also been a good batsman. He is very quick on his feet,” he said.

On what Dhoni says at the start of his spell:

“He generally doesn’t say much. If it’s a T20 match and the field restrictions are on, the only discussion we have is about which two fielders to have at the fence. For a very long time, there has been an understanding that if at alI I get hit, I’ll get hit where the fielders are,” he said.

“When I am bowling in the death overs, Dhoni tells me which side of the ground the batsman is targeting. When I am in doubt I ask him which side to bowl to. That’s pretty much it.”

On his favourite batsman to bowl in the nets:

Ashwin said it sometimes makes him “feel small” that the Indian batsmen go “hammer and tongs” when he bowls to them in the nets.

“One batsman I enjoy bowling to in the nets is Cheteshwar Pujara. He generally treats it like it is a game. Many of them try and improve what they want to. But Pujara puts the practice to maximum use,” he said.

On who will be the toughest to bowl to in the World T20 2016:

Ashwin said many batsmen will be tough to bowl to as they will look for the big hits in the small grounds in India. “But it depends on what kind of momentum a batsman gathers before coming into the tournament. So, let’s wait and watch,” he said.

On how he got his jersey number (99):

After being picked by Chennai Super Kings in the inaugural IPL, Ashwin was asked to give his preference for a jersey number.

“I didn’t know the (jersey) number concept existed. I had a 14 as my roll number in college and I had a tough time there,” he said. So, Ashwin told the person over the phone “anything but 14.” “But the guy who took it was professional enough to put my preference as ‘14’, when my answer was ‘anything else other than 14’.”

“For two years, I sat out without a single game in CSK,” he said. Then he asked Parthiv Patel if he could exchange his number ‘9’ jersey with him. When Parthiv refused, Ashwin decided to go for number ‘99’, which he still wears.