Ravichandran Ashwin was trying to bowl six different balls in an over: Bruce Yardley
India have begun their World Cup title defence down under fantastically well, having won all their three group games comprehensively. While the Indian batsmen look to have regained the wonderful touch they showed during the four-match Test series against Australia, it is the performance of the bowlers that has been particularly pleasing to see. Led by Mohammad Shami, the fast bowlers have ensured that opposition batsmen don't get off a quick start.
And then the spinners, especially Ravichandran Ashwin have backed up quicks splendidly to ensure that the opposition are made to earn every run.
Ashwin was experimenting so much: Yardley
One of the men responsible for Ashwin bowling so well in the competition so far has been former Australian off-spinner Bruce Yardley. The 67-year-old, who played 33 Tests and 8 ODIs for Australia between 1978 and 1983, has played an instrumental role in the 28-year-old’s success at the mega event and in an exclusive interview, said that he told the Indian off-spinner to impart more revolutions on the ball and deceive the batsman with the turn.
“Ashwin was doing a lot, experimenting so much. He was trying to ball six different balls every over. I told him when you bowl in Australia, you have to come back to basics. Get the ball to rotate 45 degrees and more and more revolutions on Australian pitches.”
“Get the shiny side on the outside so that it goes away in the air, and when it pitches you beat the batsman with the turn. So you beat the batsmen both in the air and off the pitch,” Yardley told in an interview to IndiaToday.
“I taught him how you could bowl two types here: you either bowl it from over the top or you slide from under. Get the ball to drop from the loop so that you get both turn and bounce. Next game he did that. He was man of the match,” he added.
Shastri’s seems to have made a huge impact on this side: Yardley
He also felt that team director Ravi Shastri has played a pivotal role in the turnaround in India’s fortunes after a winless tour of Australia, saying that the 52-year-old has made the young group of players mentally tough to tackle difficult situations down under.
“Ravi Shastri seems to have influenced the team. He has given them the intent and the steel. I got tired of watching Test cricket, but this summer was amazing. I loved the way Indians played the Tests. They approached the Tests to win. When Virat was in charge, they were looking to win in Tests,” he said.
Yardley also added that he had no doubts about the Men in Blue making a roaring return at the World Cup.
“India are contenders anywhere in the world. Yes, they do have their slumps but I told someone watch out for India. How they will come back when the World Cup comes. How they stand up when the big ones come. How Dhoni will stand up when it matters. This is a fantastic team and I love them play like this. Oh, and I love Virat Kohli and how he gave it back to the Aussies,” the bowler-turned-coach said.
He also predicted India to make it to the semi-finals of the quadrennial event along with New Zealand, Australia and South Africa.