R Ashwin, who has picked up 49 wickets in just eight Test matches played, is looking forward to spinning his web around the English batsmen © Getty Images
Mumbai: Nov 12, 2012
India’s premier off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who last week said India does not need mystery spinners to beat England in the four-match Test series starting November 15, has revealed he is ready with a mystery ball for the visitors.
“I have been working on that ball for some time now. I might just use it in this series,” Ashwin told The Times of India on Sunday.
The tall Chennai lad, who picked up 18 and 22 wickets in India’s last two home Test series against New Zealand and West Indies, respectively, currently stands on 49 wickets in just eight Test matches played. He is looking forward to spinning his web around the English batsmen.
“They have an extraordinary batting line-up which has done exceptionally in the last two or three years. You need to respect that. I think we’re well prepared to face them at home,” said Ashwin.
“I am confident, but at the same time I’m a little apprehensive too. All this while, I thought I was getting there, but a lot of work needed to be done. But at the moment, the progress is a little more satisfactory,” he added.
Other than his carom ball, which he has perfected in recent times, the 26-year-old revealed that he has a new weapon in his arsenal for the English batsmen.
“I’ll be bowling that one,” he said, talking of the mystery ball involving the use of his knuckles, but refused to reveal more.
“But I always relied on my stock ball more. It remains one of my strengths and I rely greatly on it,” he said.
Ashwin is also looking forward to pairing up with left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha during the series. The duo have 40 shared around scalps when bowling in tandem.
“The next three months will be most critical for both of us. There’s been a lot of talk about me and Ojha being the best spin-bowling pair around, but I don’t think we should be reading too much into it. We’re playing a top team at home in a four-Test series after quite some time, so we’re not really thinking about being the best pair or anything. As a team, we have to be a threat.”
“Being in the same age group, having played a good deal of domestic cricket together has helped. We’ve known each other for quite some time. So, I have that comfort level with him. Communication is very essential and we enjoy that between us,” he said.
Giving his thought on the tough series, Ashwin said: “A three-Test series at times sounds like a short series, but a four-Test series, especially against an opposition like this one, is the real thing. Just one extra Test means five extra days, so it takes up that much out of your body in terms of the effort you put in. My whole theory is: In the longer format, if you start well, half the job’s done. The momentum is what matters… it helps when you start nailing down the opposition right from the start.”