'When I bowl, I constantly think like a batter': Ashwin
During a chat with commentators Ian Bishop and Samuel Badree after the match, Ashwin explained his thought process while bowling.
Ravichandran Ashwin explained his thought process and the thinking that lies behind his deliveries after he capped off an impressive display with the ball in the first Test against West Indies at Windsor Park. Ashwin utilised every bit of the extra bounce and spin that was on offer, making it difficult for the entire middle-order batters to read his variations, as well as line and length, and really a hard task to stay on the crease.
He ended the Test with figures of 12/131 which is his best away from home. During a chat with commentators Ian Bishop and Samuel Badree after the match, Ashwin explained his thought process while bowling. "I'm thinking constantly like a batter when I'm bowling. [During] the first few overs, I'm settling into a nice rhythm. I'm looking for different angles, trying to see whether my round-arm ball spins, or the up-and-over spins, or the flatter trajectory spins. I try and gauge the pitch, I try and gauge the right pace to be bowling with, and then I'm looking at the batter," Ashwin said as quoted by ESPNcricinfo.
He further went on to specifically explain his thinking while he dismissed West Indies skipper Kraigg Braithwaite on Day 3. "That's the next phase for me - where is the head moving, where is he looking to score those runs, is he falling over, is his front leg coming over? - those are the things I'm looking at. Today, when I was bowling at Kraigg Brathwaite - it was something I was working on in the first innings as well - I felt like when the round-arm action was coming in, he was losing his head," Ashwin added.
By saying "losing his head" Ashwin meant that on Braithwaite's dismissal delivery, his head was falling a long way to the off side of the ball, which had landed on a middle-stumps line. This left the batter with a limited number of options. Ashwin didn't go into the specifics of his release point during his post-match chat, but he told the effect that natural variation has on batters' minds.
"The moment a batter walks in, you know what he wants to do, and Jermaine Blackwood was a clear example of how [after] Kraigg Brathwaite nicked it off to slip, he was [worried about] the outside edge, wanting to protect it. It's pretty much [about gauging] very quickly when a batsman walks in - whether he wants to drive, whether he wants to sit back - so when you make that early gauging of a situation or a batter, you've got a better chance of attacking him up front," Ashwin signed off. Ashwin will be looking to replicate his performance in the second Test which will begin on July 20.