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Need to be positive to tackle the Ravichandran Ashwin challenge: Graham Thorpe

Ravichandran Ashwin has been in terrific form for Team India in the series against England
Ravichandran Ashwin has been in terrific form for Team India in the series against England
ANALYST
Modified 22 Feb 2021
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England assistant coach Graham Thorpe has admitted that facing off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin is one of the biggest challenges for the visitors going into the third Test against India in Ahmedabad.

Ravichandran Ashwin has taken five-wicket hauls in both the Tests so far and also scored a fluent century in India’s second innings during the second Test.

While speaking to the media ahead of the pink-ball Test at Motera, Thorpe was asked how England’s left-handers were preparing to tackle the Ravichandran Ashwin challenge. The 51-year-old responded:

“Not just for the left-handers, if the pitch spins, he is obviously dangerous for right-handers as well. He is a fine bowler in those conditions as well. In terms of working with the players, it is important to get a good clear mind and try and reflect what could we have done better. It comes back down to similar things. Trying to trust your footwork and also trusting your defence. Staying calm, as calm as we can.”

Thorpe, an excellent batsman against spin during his playing days, asserted that England’s batsmen will have to go in with a positive mindset to face Ravichandran Ashwin. He further explained:

“You need to be positive in your mind, in terms of your ability to score runs as well. And, hopefully, that puts you in a better position, whether you are attacking or defending. Again, another tough week ahead of us. We are looking forward to it.”

Former players debate Ravichandran Ashwin’s non-inclusion in limited-overs formats

Even as Ravichandran Ashwin continues to excel in Test matches, he remains out of favour in ODIs and T20Is. The off-spinner did not find a place in the recently-announced squad for the five-match T20Is against England. Ravichandran Ashwin last played a limited-overs match for India in 2017.

According to former India captain Sunil Gavaskar, it is difficult for Ravichandran Ashwin to make a comeback in the shorter formats because India have well-balanced squads in both T20Is and ODIs. He told Star Sports:

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“I somehow don't think he will now make a comeback in the Indian limited-overs team because India have found in Hardik Pandya the all-rounder at No.7, there is Ravindra Jadeja and then they will have three seamers or maybe one spinner and two-seamers. I don't think he will fit into the squad at the moment and therefore, he will be a Test match player for the next half a dozen years at least.”

Former India opener Gautam Gambhir, on the other hand, termed the decision to not include the experienced off-spinner in the limited-overs formats as “unfortunate” and described Ravichandran Ashwin as a “class act”.

Published 22 Feb 2021, 20:18 IST
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