Early pressure by the quicks has helped R Ashwin when his turn to bowl has come: Stephen Fleming
After a disappointing outing on their tour of Australia, India’s bowling resurgence in the ongoing 2015 World Cup has certainly caught everybody by surprise. The fast bowlers, led very well by Mohammad Shami have provided the team with early breakthroughs in almost every game and once they have done their job, the spinners, particularly Ravichandran Ashwin have dried up the runs further to ensure that the batsmen are forced to take risks, in order to get runs.
The off-spinner has been heavily criticised in the past for his performance overseas but has definitely turned a new leaf and after Shami, is India’s leading wicket-taker in the tournament.
However, one man who is not surprised by Ashwin’s performance is former New Zealand captain and current head coach of Indian Premier League(IPL) franchise Chennai Super Kings Stephen Fleming, who feels that the 28-year-old’s thirst to keep learning and innovating with his game, combined with the fact that the pacers have been very good, upfront have helped him achieve success in the World Cup.
“It doesn’t really surprise me (his success). He basically keeps creating new deliveries for himself. He’s a student of the game. He’s a real student, loves the game, trains very hard; he’s a cricket tragic,” Fleming told reporters.
“He’s statistically motivated. He needs confidence from the team as well. What's happening is with the seam bowlers taking wickets he has been able to come and attack. And that’s when he’s at his best,” he added.
Following the tidy job done by Shami and Umesh Yadav, Mohit Sharma has continued to maintain the pressure on the opposition and the 41-year-old from Christchurch added that the Haryana cricketer has helped the team, convert what seemed like an area of concern into a big strength and further said that working with former Australian pacer Andy Bichel at the franchise has helped him immensely.
“It’s been impressive, hasn’t it? It was an area where India seemed to have a weakness and I think they’ve turned that around into one of their strengths. Since Ishant Sharma went home, there was probably a sign that you were going to get undone in the fast bowling, but I’ve seen Mohit’s development closely.
“His work with Andy Bichel was impressive. He’s just fit and strong and his emotion with the World Cup performance against Pakistan was great for the Indian side to get started and win. They’re confident, all up in the 140-mark and really relishing the fact they’ve got a bit of pace to bowl with,” the former left-hander said.
Raina wouldn’t have a problem playing the short ball in New Zealand: Fleming
Talking about middle-order batsman Suresh Raina’s short-ball woes, Fleming said that the 28-year-old shouldn't have a problem dealing with the rising ball on the shorter grounds of New Zealand and it isn't as big an issue as what people have been perceiving it to be.
“On smaller grounds in New Zealand, it won’t be an issue. It may be an issue on bigger grounds where he tends to hook up, looking for six rather than roll his wrists. He can get better at it, he knows he can. But I don’t think it’s as big a weakness as people make it out to be.
“We had a short time to work together but I don’t think that technically he has [that problem]. There’s obviously a bit of anxiety around it, but once he gets in he plays it well and he can use it as his strength,” he said.