As India prepare for the four Test series against West Indies, they would be placing high hopes on experienced off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin. Although the slow bowler has not done all that well away from home, he is gearing up to do the hard yards in the Test matches. And, Ashwin believes that patience will be the key to success in the West Indies, when the series begins on the 21st of this month.
While admitting that thing are not going to be all that easy, the offie told bcci.tv, "I'm sure it's going to be challenging because of the kind of wickets, the kind of heat. From whatever I saw in the last warm-up game, the wickets were pretty slow." At the same time, he added, "I am sure I'll have to be as boring as possible in terms of trying to plug away all day long."
Ashwin sat out of the first warm-up game in which fellow spinner and leggie Amit Mishra finished with four wickets. Sharing his observations on the surface used for the match, Ashwin said, "The pitches are getting slower. If the wickets are going to be tailor-made for us, if it starts spinning, then we come into our own. But until then, it's all about patience."
Giving the example of Mishra from the warm-up game, Ashwin explained, "The other day you saw Mishy bowl for about 15-16 overs without any wickets, but once he got a breakthrough, he started breaking through at regular intervals. There might be a little bit of bounce or little bit of slowness in the wicket that you can exploit, but it's got to be pretty boring lines and lengths and keep teasing with your flight."
The off-spinner further went on to say that the presence of a great former spinner like Anil Kumble as coach is definitely benefiting him, especially the fact that Kumble is bowling in the nets. Singing praises of the new coach, Ashwin said, "He has brought in a lot of meticulousness among the group. There is some very good discipline in the nets. The batsmen get out to the nets at the perfect time for a start, and that's not been going around for some time."
On his personal interaction with Kumble, the offie elaborated, "We've had a very open chat and he has already told me what he's looking forward to from me, and I have already told him what I'm looking forward to him teaching me. "
Ashwin also revealed that he is working hard on his batting with Sanjay Bangar (batting coach), especially since Test skipper Virat Kohli has been keen on playing five bowlers. "Batting is something I work very hard on. I have set some goals with the coaching staff, as to what I want to achieve - not just in terms of numbers, but in terms of how correct I can be, how much more solid I can become as a batter," said the spinner who has Test hundreds to his name.
With the first practice match ending in a draw, India will play their second warm-up game in Basseterre from July 14. The three-day clash will be followed by the first Test in Antigua beginning on July 21.
--By A Cricket Correspondent