With an enviable record of 254 wickets from 45 Tests at an average of 25 and combined with four hundreds and 10 half-centuries at a little more than an average of 35, Ashwin has transformed himself into a genuine all-rounder.
The off-spinner focuses on trying new things often and it is no surprise when he comes up with a bag of tricks to fox the batsman. And the ‘trying’ does not happen without self-introspection. In the recently concluded series against England, Ashwin changed his bowling action mid-way through the match to ‘suit the condition of the wicket’.
“I played close to eight years of international cricket. It has been a good ride. There have been a very few lean patches in my game and that is understandable from a cricketer’s point of view. Every time I get onto the field, it has been a fresh start. That is a zone I find myself in very often. I have accepted that fact. I have always mentioned that every cricketer is different, every cricketer finds himself in different scenarios but for me it has always been the same. So to try and do something different, try and do new things, it is not off my boil. Because I know if I succeed or fail, it is on my own terms. Since, it is a start every single time, and that is how you will be judged, it has got into my system. It is a highly competitive field,” Ashwin said on the sidelines of a practice session at his Gen Next Cricket Academy here on Thursday.
Ashwin said picking wickets by the dozen is what he would consider as a successful stint. “For me, success in bowling is five wickets, very good success is 10 and even better than that is 15. Anything less than that is a failure. That’s how I view the game,” he added.
The Chennai tweaker has been on a roll in the last 22 matches he has played. He has picked up 138 wickets and played an integral part in India winning six consecutive Test series. But, Ashwin’s record in Australia (at an average of 54.7), in England (at 33.6), in South Africa (one Test with no wickets) and New Zealand (no Test matches) doesn’t gel well with his No. 1 status.
However, the bowler said he hoped to turn the tide soon. “It is just a way of life where we try and detract our people saying he has not done this or that (with respect to his overseas form). I would say, it is just jealousy. I have played a decent sample size in Australia and I think I am better than Greame Swann in Australia, which is a fair call. Because, in Australia you have to find yourself to bowl a team out and many times I haven’t found myself the way to bowl my team to a win in the fourth innings. I found myself in South Africa once and unfortunately I couldn’t deliver and I was out of the team for the next 15 months. These things happen in every cricketer’s career and I think I am good enough now. I will put it (the overseas performance) to rest someday but I am not overly bothered about it,” he said.
With India using the Decision Review System for six Tests now, Ashwin felt the DRS has brought balance to the game. “It has got parity back. It can give a batsman or a bowler a chance against. For example, Jadeja had Shakib at short-leg the other day but it was turned over as the ball didn’t hit the bat. It has evened the game out and it has given everyone a fair chance against a bad decision,” he said.