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Ravichandran Ashwin watching Sri Lanka spinners in England for tips

Ravichandran Ashwin has had trouble getting wickets outside India in Tests © PTI
Ravichandran Ashwin has had trouble getting wickets outside India in Tests © PTI

Mumbai: Jun 17, 2014

As a means to gear up for the upcoming Test battle in England, off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin on Tuesday said he has been following the ongoing series between Sri Lanka and the hosts and is trying to take a cue from the visiting team’s slow bowlers.

“I have been watching the Sri Lanka series pretty closely to try and see if I can take advantage out of what is existing there, how Sri Lanka is playing. Sri Lanka is pretty close to what we are doing in terms of sub-continental conditions. So trying to take a leaf out of that,” said the India spinner at a function organised by Gillette in Mumbai on Tuesday.

“It has been a good Test match, the last one, so I have probably seen how (Rangana) Herath is bowling so that is something I can take a bite from,” he said about the Lord’s match that ended with Lanka holding on to a thrilling draw with one wicket in hand. I can only pick up what he (Herath) did well and see what I can jot down. I watched the game. I was having a look at how the condition was and if the conditions are going to be similar.

“Sri Lanka has got a couple of good seamers and a good batting line up as well so you never know what their (England) strategy is going to be against us,” he added. India will commence their tour on June 26 with a three-day game in Leicester. The visitors are to play one more warm-up three-day game against Derbyshire (July 1-3) before the five-match Test series starts on July 9 at Trent Bridge.

The other Tests are to be played at Lord’s (July 17-21), Ageas Bowl in Southampton (July 27-31), Old Trafford (August 7-11) and The Oval (August 15-19). Ashwin felt the way India start the five-match rubber would set the tone for the rest of the series.

“In any long series I believe how well you start is very important. We have got a few practice games and we can jot down something which can be really useful for us,” said the Tamil Nadu bowler who is the fastest Indian bowler to take 100 Test wickets.

Asked about India’s chances against the hosts, the 27-year old said, “Like any cricket game it is a 50-50 chance. It doesn’t really matter whom we are playing and where we are playing. The start of the series is going to be very crucial. How well you start is going to determine how the series goes.”

About his own preparations, Ashwin gave a vague reply. “Nothing special. I am just looking to basically improve on what I have basically possessed. I have just tried and tightened everything up and made sure that I enjoy my game. (I have) put in all the hard yards and see how well it goes. It is going to be exciting. In terms of preparation, I will just knock each one down and tick each box and see how it goes. I am just hoping it goes on really well and I just go there and take it easy and enjoy my game,” the Tamil Nadu player said.

Ashwin brushed aside India’s four consecutive Test series losses overseas — in England, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand — as irrelevant for a new series. “It’s a fresh tour and you can’t look at the back logs and go into any series. It is as similar as someone failing once. You don’t ask them if you are going to fail again. I don’t think we will be going with such a mindset.

“I don’t think we read too much into it, to be honest. These labels (of being unable to win matches overseas) are something that have been going on for a very long time. As far as I am concerned, it is a very young lot and all of us are a very good unit, we gel pretty well. I am very sure everybody has put in their hard work and we would like to go there and acclimatise a little bit and try to enjoy our game to the best. England is a wonderful place to play cricket,” he added.

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