Ashwin describes both Kohli and Dhoni as unique and exceptional captains, says the doosra is finished
Ravichandran Ashwin has been a force to reckon with over the past year wherein his 62 wickets from 9 Tests in 2015 sent him atop the ICC Test Bowlers’ rankings, a feat achieved only by one Indian cricketer in the past- Bishan Singh Bedi in 1973.
Being a key man for both the Indian captains- MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli- the off-spinner lauded the skippers and called them exceptional leaders with unique styles, during the TV show Walk the Talk, conducted by NDTV.
On Dhoni and Kohli
“I think what distinguishes Mahendra Singh Dhoni from the rest of the captains is that he's not very vocal, he doesn't communicate a lot. There are situations when in a game you feel like, 'Oh my God!' we are expecting a reaction and he just leaves his reaction in his kit bag and goes back to the room.”
“I think that's a quality that is very, very hard to acquire. Right or wrong, is another issue altogether, but it's a very difficult quality to acquire, because when emotions are flaring high, you always make the wrong decision,” said the Tamil Nadu player.
Appreciating Kohli’s enthusiasm and zeal, Ashwin spoke about his success in such a short span of time.
“In his (Kohli's) brief career as a captain he's someone who is striving for excellence all the time and at the same time, pushing other players to excel. This I think is a great quality,” said he of his Test captain.
On his heroes- Warne and Kumble
Declaring Shane Warne and Anil Kumble as his idols, Ashwin went a step further in the appreciation of the Australian legend saying that if he had to pay USD 1000 to watch a bowler, he would watch the leg-spinner with 708 Test wickets.
“If you had to pay 1000 USD and go watch a bowler, I'd rather go and watch Shane Warne because of the way he commanded respect and the way he dictated terms. Warne had just nine fielders to command on the ground and how beautifully he did that is something that I don't think anybody else can do.”
Having already been slated as India’s strike bowler by Kohli, the 29-year old has a lot of varieties apart from his stock delivery at his disposal, including the carrom-ball. The carrom ball was first made popular by the Sri Lankan spinner Ajantha Mendis when he bamboozled the Indian batsman during their 2008 tour to the island nation.
Recalling the Lankan as someone who he sought inspiration from, he said that he was mighty impressed by the way Mendis bowled the off-spin, the leg-spin, and the carrom ball.
“He (Mendis) bowled the carrom ball, he bowled the googly, bowled the off-spin .. you name it, he bowled it. When I saw him play I was quite inspired.”
“I came back and told my dad about what I saw. My dad actually told me, why don't you give it a try? At first, I dismissed him but later gave it a nice thought and from then on, I started bowling it for the next two years.”
Doosra- a dying art
One addition to the set of deliveries mentioned above is the doosra, the offspinner's delivery that turns away from the right-hander, that has been used over the years by greats like Muttiah Muralitharan and Harbhajan Singh, but has lost its presence of late, with the ICC coming down hard on bowlers with suspect actions.
The Indian felt that it is almost impossible to bowl the said ball with the straight arm, that is within the 15-degrees limit, and hence, the doosra now is a dying art.
“I think it's finished. And I don't think you can bowl it with a straight arm. It's just impossible to bowl it with a straight arm. With due respect and no offence to anyone, this is my opinion.”