Ravichandran Ashwin © AFP
Ravichandran Ashwin © AFP

Ravichandran Ashwin expressed his disappointment in an interview with ESPNcricinfo. Having played for Chennai Super Kings (CSK) for the first eight seasons of IPL, Ashwin believes he “earned that space around Chepauk”. After CSK decided not to retain Ashwin, Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) got hold of him for INR 7.6 crores. “I was a tad disappointed because I have been here for the last ten years,” Ashwin admitted. “Literally, I have owned that space around Chepauk. Every time I came on to bowl, the kind of roaring and cheering I got will always stick on to my head. Coming back there, to play against CSK, will probably motivate me more.”

But there is a bigger news: Ashwin will bowl leg-spin in the upcoming season. He revealed that he likes to add more flavour to his bowling and not stick to one dimension: ”This is part of my plan going into the IPL. I am just trying to build my armoury. I used to bowl good leg-breaks with my off-spin action when I was playing league cricket in Chennai. Over a period of time, in a search to get my stock ball right, I obviously had to cut out a lot of those things. I had possessed a lot more variations. Having bowled off-break as the stock ball for almost 10 years, trying to change things around is challenging. But I don’t really settle for anything. At no point in my career, I thought ‘this is it’ and decided to settle for the rest of my career.”

With a straight-arm action, it won’t be a tough task for Ashwin to consistently land the ball where he wants to. However, Ashwin has been working with Lakshmipathy Balaji to make it more effective and that the devised plan is only his: “As of now everything is cooked by me. I try to take feedback from our coaches in my academy. L Balaji has been of great help. First time I was bowling leg-spin, we were working on some actions on how to gain momentum. How I can make a repeatable action work for me. For example, my arm doesn’t go 45 degrees which is perfect for a leg spinner. I am more upright. I have to adjust my action. It has been a painful ride. One day it will come out well in the nets, and the next day it won’t come out all right. It will be frustrating. I have gone through the entire journey and have reached a place where I can land the ball where I want to.”