Team India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin disagrees with the view that the Men in Blue have had a rather easy ride in their quest for a semi-final spot in the T20 World Cup 2022 despite not being at their best.
India are on top of Group 2 with three wins in four matches in the Super 12 round. Their last game will be against Zimbabwe in Melbourne on Sunday, November 6. A triumph would guarantee them a berth in the semi-finals.
At a pre-match press conference, a journalist stated that the Indians have not had to work too hard to reach this stage despite not being at their very best. Giving a cheeky response to the question, he said:
“Aasani se nahi pahunche (We have not had it easy). We have had quite tricky games, be it against Bangladesh or Pakistan - all these games went down to the wire. I hope it changes from here.”
On former Australian captain Ricky Ponting also stating that India have not been at their best yet, he replied:
“Even people watching the game, giving their expert opinion, are still learning the ropes. The game is divided by such small margins. I’ve spoken to ex-cricketers and experts. They themselves feel they are catching up with the pace of the game.
“It would be unfair to say that a team has not stepped up or is not looking at its best. It’s on the day how you are going to counter a plan that is delivered. It’s then and there - how well you execute your skills. I would say make a review after the game, which is much better."
During the match against Bangladesh, Ashwin hit a brilliant six off a short ball. He has looked in decent touch with the willow. Answering a Sportskeeda query over whether he has been practicing against the rising ball, the off-spinner said:
“I don’t have a lot of balls to plan and take it on. It’s pretty much been a plan here. It’s not only the lower-order batsmen - because of the bounce and boundary sizes, people have tended to bowl a lot of length and short balls with mid-on and mid-off up.
“It is a very critical shot to practice, you can’t keep on thinking how I am going to rotate it (strike) and all. You have to be practicing and giving your instinct the best chance to hit that ball. Glad it worked. Hopefully, it keeps working.”
Ashwin was unbeaten on 13* off six balls in the match against Bangladesh, striking a six and a four.
“We need to be as clinical as possible” - Ravichandran Ashwin on match against Zimbabwe
Asked about the plans for Sunday’s key clash against Zimbabwe, the off-spinner stated that it is a must-win game like any other in the World Cup. He asserted that the team is gearing up to give their best. Ashwin said:
“We need to be as clinical as possible. We know no team is a brush over. You’ll have to still go in there, counter that early phase with the bat and bowl those good balls to be able to generate pressure. Good teams will be clinical and will pile the pressure on. It’s a must-win contest and we know that.
"We are looking forward to the game. Zimbabwe has played some wonderful cricket.”
While India are leading the points table in Group 2, Zimbabwe are fifth with three points from four matches.