India’s ace spinner Ravi Ashwin, who is hailed as one of the most talented bowlers around the world, never fails to impress us with his genius tactics and approaches on-field. He is known for his genius cricketing brains and the tactical preparations he put in before the start of a series.
In a recent interview, Ravi Ashwin opened up about how he prepares days before the start of a series and plans a batsman’s dismissal. Speaking to ‘ESPNcricinfo’ about the same, Ashwin also talked about how he studied the batting styles of England captain Joe Root and Australia’s star player Steve Smith.
Ashwin revealed that he takes help from the team analysts to understand the batting patterns of different players. He also added that he watches the ball by ball innings of the batsman.
“I made him my obsession for about six months, not just two weeks or three weeks. Just footage, just watching different matches. The most recent series they played [before India toured Australia in 2020-21] was New Zealand. I went through every single day’s play. I would go on to my app and check – how many runs was [Marnus] Labuschagne batting on when Will Somerville came on to bowl? Which ball did he hit over cow corner?”
“I think there is a bit of premeditation when it comes to Aussie batsmen. I think in this whole “playing the Aussie way”, they are looking for aggressive options. Obviously, Aussie pitches are very true. So you can get away without getting to the pitch of the ball sometimes, which can be very disconcerting [for the bowler]. As a spinner, you need to be very precise in Australia. Every run you give must be on your own terms.”
“So whenever Marnus Labuschagne steps out, he hits the ball over cow corner for an offspinner, or he hits it over mid-off. It’s very rarely through long-on. And he doesn’t have a flat sweep, he has a lap sweep, like a paddle. All these shots have a trigger. And it’s very fine. If you don’t know or if you’ve not seen enough footage, you cannot pick these things up.”
He was also asked how he plans against Steve Smith. Responding to which he said that the Australian makes enormous use of his hands. While Ashwin called Smith a momentum-driven batsman, he hailed Root for his “vulnerable defense technique” that helped him to sweep every second ball from a spinner. He revealed:
“And with Steve Smith, his batting is very momentum-driven. Most of his batting comes from his hands, so my whole idea was to disturb his hands through the series. He’s got certain hand-movement patterns. You have to pick them and be able to bowl in a way that disturbs his hand pattern. So I bowled with different load-ups, different speeds, different run-ups and all that. I realised I kind of got to him.”
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