Ravichandran Ashwin picked eight wickets in the first Test against South Africa in Visakhapatnam, including a seven-wicket haul in the first innings. He also became the joint-fastest to 350 wickets in Test matches, equalling the record held by Sri Lanka great Muttiah Muralitharan.
Ashwin had not been a part of the Test side for the overseas tour to West Indies, but made a comeback in the XI for the home leg of the World Test Championship. Indian captain Virat Kohli has also insisted that the Tamil Nadu bowler remains an important part of the side.
In a conversation with the series broadcasters Star Sports, Ashwin revealed his tactics ahead of the game.
"I start listening to their press conferences, start watching their practice sessions to see what they’ve done. I watch videos, go to different websites to study," Ashwin said.
"I also see their record over the past six months, how they have gone about dealing with off-spinners, with spinners in general - in South Africa, away from South Africa, what sort of troubles they’ve had and identify attacking zones for bowler."
The 33-year-old spinner also provided insight on the different variations and tweaks in the bowling tactics, which give him an edge over the batsmen.
"If it is a six-ball period, I would go towards the good length area, prodding there, looking for their inside and outside edge, open the gate for bowled. This is how generally the off-spinners operate.
"I concentrate on the stumps for a period of time and then go wider, shoulders do not open, slip into play, shoulder opens up and the ball spins, it brings the short leg into play. Once the shoulder opens, not all the strokes will be under control, catching mid-wicket, short mid-wicket will be in play, short leg.
"Once a batsman is scared of his pads, the bat starts going in a funny fashion, at an angle. These are things I work on. When the batsmen start changing their strategies, that’s when I start winning," Ashwin said.