Former India spinner Pragyan Ojha has called Ravichandran Ashwin the 'bowling captain' of India's Test side. Ojha believes that Ashwin's sense of security as the leading spinner is behind the change in his body language on the field.
Ravichandran Ashwin is the joint-highest wicket-taker in the series till now. He is tied with Pat Cummins with 10 scalps at a brilliant average of 17.10. Ashwin has also emerged as a leader in the side.
In an interaction with Sports Today, Pragyan Ojha talked about Ashwin's role in the side.
“Ashwin knows exactly what he wants to do. He’s not a rookie anymore. He has been to Australia and now he doesn’t have to play for his spot. That’s the most important thing for a player. Once you don’t have the fear of getting dropped from the team over poor performance, then your body language changes. You have a little bit of cushion to do certain things. That’s what is making a lot of difference for Ashwin and with the role he is playing now. On the field, he is the bowling captain." said Ojha.
In Virat Kohli's absence, Ashwin — along with Jasprit Bumrah and stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane — has shouldered the responsibilities of encouraging youngsters. The trio forms the current side's leadership caucus, and did a fine job in helping India level the series 1-1.
“Ravichandran Ashwin is not worried about alien conditions” - Pragyan Ojha
Ravichandran Ashwin is India's premier spinner in home conditions. However, his records take a slight dip in away conditions. He was on his way to rectify that in the 2018 edition of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, but was ruled out after the first Test with a back injury.
This time, Ravichandran Ashwin's staggering returns and bowling acumen have all but cemented his place in the side, even for overseas tours. Ojha added that Ashwin's rookie days are over and the seasoned spinner is now in his groove.
"So, these responsibilities are helping him enhance his performance. He has always been spot-on about his bowling and planning. He is not worried about the alien conditions. Normally, when you are traveling to Australia as a rookie, you don’t know how the wickets are going to be or the Kookaburra ball is going to help you. Ashwin has gone past all these and he knows whatever the situation is, he will deliver,” said Ojha.
Ravichandran Ashwin seems to have the number of Australia's top 2 batters - Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne. He has dismissed them both twice in the series. In the third Test which commences on January 7th, he will face another arch-rival in David Warner.
These exciting matchups of heavyweights in Sydney will ultimately steer the course of the series.Published 01 Jan 2021, 19:07 IST