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‘Safe to tread a beaten path’

Ravichandran Ashwin

Dhaka: Ravichandran Ashwin said on Saturday that his Sunil Narine-like action during the Asia Cup was an attempt to try out something different by doing a little bit with his elbow.

“I wanted to do something different… Unless you try, you won’t find out what can work or not. I had never bowled in full sleeves before. So I wanted to see how it would feel. That’s point No. 1,” he said.

“And I just wanted to see if you can get more revs on the ball if you can do a little bit with your elbow, as much as that is. You can get a lot of advantage with these things — so why should I lag behind if someone else is getting a competitive edge,” Ashwin said.

The off-spinner said variations in pace had helped them in picking wickets in the World T20. “It’s a bit of variation in pace more than anything else,” Ashwin said. “That’s what I’ve been looking to do — vary the length and vary the pace. You slow it down, you can get a bit of purchase. There were a few occasions when I slowed it down and the ball actually spun the other way (against Bangladesh). So I don’t know what it is.

“The wicket is quite slow. You can’t say it’s been gripping. Obviously, a leggie bowling over the top and slowing it down will give some revs on any wicket. That is one advantage but if you’re prepared to slow it down and take pace off the ball, you’re in with a chance here.

“There’s been a conscious effort to vary the pace, not just slow it down. I’ve been bowling at different paces — 100kmph to 80 to 75kmph. That’s what I’ve been looking at, and trying to use the crease much more — whatever cues I took from the Asia Cup,” explained Ashwin.

He said he gained from Amit Mishra’s success. “As a combination, every bowling unit benefits from each other’s success and bowling strengths. Amit has been one of our potent forces in this tournament. We’ve been using him in all the situations where they actually have to go for it. He doesn’t give you a lot of pace so when the batsmen are going after him, it’s a big chance. Because he’s going to slow it down even more.”

How has it been bowling at the start and the death? “When you’re starting off, you look to bowl as many good balls as possible in the areas you want. The disadvantage with that is a good ball can be hit for four with less amount of risk because of the fielders not being on the fence.

“Whereas in the death, you have to be — this is my take on it, not that this is how it has to be — swallowing your ego and trying to make sure you’re not giving runs away. Because there are people around who want to pick wickets at that time. For me, it’s about swallowing your ego and making sure you’ve done the situation bit pretty well,” said Ashwin.

Asked if India would like to bat first on winning toss, Ashwin said: “I would not want to swim a tsunami! I would not want to challenge conditions. If we win the toss, we’ll again bowl first if that is what is required. You will be fighting against a wall if you are fighting against conditions. It’s always safe to tread the beaten path.”