Stick to ‘lethal’ plans, says Ravi Shastri
Ravi Shastri believes Ravichandran Ashwin’s performance may go on to decide the fate of the upcoming India-Australia Test series. But at the same time, Shastri wants the distinguished off-spinner to “stick to his basics and not over-plan”.
In an interaction organised by Star Sports, the broadcaster of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy series, the former India head coach said: “You don’t want him (Ashwin) to over-plan as he’s good enough to stick to his plans.
“Ashwin comes as a package, as he’ll get you important runs as well. If Ashwin is on fire, that might decide the outcome of the series.
“He’s world-class in most conditions, but in Indian conditions, he’s lethal. If the ball starts spinning and there’s enough bite off the surface, he’ll trouble most batters.
“So, you don’t want Ashwin to overthink and try too many things. He just needs to keep it there and let the pitch do the rest because in any case, it does enough in India.”
With three tweakers expected in the Indian line-up, Shastri prefers left-arm chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav over fellow left-armer Axar Patel for the third spinner’s slot alongside Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.
“I would like to see Kuldeep play straightaway, as far as the third spinner is concerned. Jadeja and Axar are pretty similar bowlers, but Kuldeep is different. If you lose the toss on Day I, you need someone who will give it a rip.
“If anyone spins it from Day I itself, it will be Kuldeep. Also, if the track doesn’t have too much on offer, even then Kuldeep can come into play,” Shastri reasoned.
Calcutta: The absence of Rishabh Pant, who played a key role in India winning their second straight series in Australia two years ago, should be of some relief to the Pat Cummins-led group, feels former Australia captain Ian Chappell.
The explosive 25-year-old keeper-batter is recovering after surviving a horrific car crash last December.
“India are really going to miss Pant, while the Australians will be happy. He’s a counterattacker — the guy who keeps you awake is the guy who scores quickly and changes the game in one session. Pant was one such player,”
Chappell said at an interaction organised by Star Sports. Chappell had a word of advice for Australia’s spin spearhead Nathan Lyon. “Curve the ball away from the right-handed batters and don’t bowl too straight,” he said.
A STAFF REPORTER