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Working on action is paying off for Ashwin

Birmingham: Ravichandran Ashwin’s performance in the shorter versions has been comparatively better than Test cricket, which the Tamil Nadu spinner attributes to the time spent at the nets with his personal coach, sorting out his bowling action.

“I have put considerable amount of work into it, a good 55-60 days of work back at home with my coach. I have been trying to sort out my action and extract as much as possible from the wicket. Thankfully, am getting results,” Ashwin told reporters on the eve of the fourth one-dayer here on Tuesday.

The ‘four-fielder outside the 30-yard circle’ rule has something that has been troubling the Indian spinners. Ashwin said he was working around the restrictions chalking out his own plan.

“The fifth fielder (allowed in the earlier rule) actually determined the length of a spinner. Now as per new rules, depending on which fielder, you have up (inside the circle), you have to bowl fuller, pull up your length, have to play in between that and try taking risks in between that,” he added.

Having received Man-of-the-Match award in the third ODI, Ashwin was all praise for the fielders, specially Suresh Raina. “We had six or seven new players coming in for the ODIs, and that has obviously helped lift the team.

“This sort of thing happen (referring to dropped catches in the Tests), when you have had a bad series, which was how the Tests ended for us. Now, you have fresh legs coming in and that’s refreshing. It brings a bit of fresh attitude into the squad,” he added.

“The other day at Cardiff, Mohammad Shami took a good catch in the deep and he made it look easy… That catch by Raina (at Nottingham) was amazing. The moment he caught it, I forgot that I had got a wicket and went berserk seeing the way he had taken that catch. It really motivates the whole team and other slip fielders, me being one of them as well,” he added.

The Indian team has a lot of happy memories at Edgbaston and Ashwin feels that if they can clinch the series on Tuesday, it would be a good way to celebrate the team’s top spot in the ICC ODI rankings.

“We have been at No. 1 or 2 in the ODIs over the last few seasons. In between, there have been series where we haven’t done well and there has been a bit of a concern of not closing out games.

“But the reality is that in the last three-to-four years, we have had some good times in ODI cricket, so even when we have lost we have competed very well. That has been a positive for us and we have been doing well and we will continue to do well in the lead-up to the World Cup,” Ashwin said.

England have struggled in the middle overs, particularly against the spinners. “It has been one of our strengths, especially in the middle overs, and we have always operated in that fashion. There are times when the batsmen get going and we are not able to take wickets. Those are really hard times, but if we get a wicket or two… then that’s a comfortable domain for us,” he said.

The offie felt that a good start given by the new ball bowlers helped the slow bowlers to keep up the pressure.

“The ideal situation is when they are 2-3 wickets down and that’s what happened in Cardiff when Shami bowled that initial spell. But if that doesn’t happen, then you have to see how much of a restrictive role you are going to play, because the batting team is going to have 9-10 wickets in the bag,” he added.