Veteran Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin picked up in ODI cricket as if he had never left. Ashwin is still the first name on the team sheet when India play a Test match at home but when it comes to white-ball cricket, he may not have been in the scheme of things anymore, however, it's the third year on the trot when somehow, the senior pro is back into the selection side of things ahead of the World Cup. And his performances in the two games are example that he went nowhere and being the great thinker and cricketer he is, he keep improving constantly.
Ashwin was economical in both games but the results he got in the second ODI against Australia when the visitors were handed a desperate situation of chasing down 261 runs in 24 overs and obviously they were going to come hard. Ashwin ended up taking three wickets including that of Marnus Labuschagne and David Warner.
Speaking after the game about his mindset and what he had planned, Ashwin said, "They had nothing to lose after the rain break. They had to go hard and needed a boundary every over. Chasing 400 over 50 overs is completely different than chasing (317) in 33 overs. I wanted to keep the length perfect, away from the bat and also change pace.
"Marnus played a reverse before that and I was expecting him to do something similar or slog, so I wanted to keep my pace up and down just in case he gave the stumps away. They were not picking the variations of the hand, so maybe that angle and the change of grip to bowl the carrom ball and the off spinner - I am using my third finger - hopefully will hold me in good stead," Ashwin said about his grip speaking on the video shared by BCCI.
Ashwin revealed that he was at the NCA recently and he worked with spin bowling coach Sairaj Bahutule about his grip and was glad that it came off as he tried a few grips but thankfully one of them gave results.
"I worked a little with Sairaj at the NCA on slightly different grips. We worked on it for three-four days. For the amount of professional cricket I have played over the years I should have done this a lot before," Ashwin said. "At the end of the day, if a batsman is deceived by my delivery, it is a good ball. I was pleased with the amount of uncertainty I was able to create with respect to bringing both edges into play."
Ashwin was almost playing chess with the Australian batters. Labuschagne missed a ball that left him, carrom ball and Warner, who decided to bat right-handed against Ashwin, had to change his stance once again when the off-spinner started bowling carrom ball and got eventually out being in no man's land to play either right or left-handed.
Ashwin took three wickets as India won the game by 99 runs and sealed the series 2-0. Ashwin is set to play the series finale in Rajkot as well with Axar Patel not available. The reports suggested that the management is confident of Axar getting fit for the World Cup if one percent he doesn't, India have a readymade replacement in an experienced man over a decade.