Gautam Gambhir has criticized R Ashwin for not bowling off-spin and instead resorting to his variations during yesterday's IPL 2021 encounter between the Delhi Capitals and Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Ashwin was introduced into the attack on the second delivery of the ninth over when Marcus Stoinis had to leave the field due to an injury. The lanky off-spinner failed to create an impression and went wicketless in the 2.5 overs he bowled, although Rishabh Pant did put down Kane Williamson off his bowling.
During a discussion on Star Sports, Gautam Gambhir questioned R Ashwin's tactics of not bowling off-spin. He said:
"He is currently the best off-spinner in the world but he didn't bowl off-spin at all. It is necessary for him to first understand that he is an off-spinner. It was an ideal situation for him where the opposition was three or four down."
The former India cricketer added that R Ashwin should have bowled his stock delivery until the batsmen went after him. Gambhir elaborated:
"There is no doubt that you have not played cricket for a long time, you didn't play the four Tests and the match pressure is completely different, whichever format it might be, you should have bowled your traditional off-spin until you were hit for a six."
R Ashwin has played just a couple of competitive games since the first half of IPL 2021. He was part of the Indian team for the WTC final and played a county match for Surrey but was not selected for any of the four Tests against England.
"R Ashwin should have bowled the Test match-type bowling" - Gautam Gambhir
Gautam Gambhir pointed out that R Ashwin bowling his off-spinners would have helped him get back his rhythm. He explained:
"You should have bowled the Test match-type bowling and got back your rhythm and feel. Whether it is batting or bowling, everything is about the feel. We saw the knuckle ball at the start itself. The entire world knows that you have variation of all types, you can bowl the googly, leg-spin, knuckle ball but you are still an off-spinner."
The 39-year-old signed off by stating that he was slightly disappointed with R Ashwin's bowling performance in yesterday's Indian Premier League encounter. Gambhir observed:
"You can get wickets with off-spin also. It is not necessary that it is T20 cricket or white ball, so you have to show your variations. He disappointed me a little from that point of view but I am sure that going forward he will bowl more off-spin because he is a world-class bowler."
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Ashwin, who is part of India's 15-member squad for the T20 World Cup, will hope to give a better account of himself in the upcoming matches. He would surely need to perform better if he wants to make India's starting XI.