To adapt and evolve is always crucial for an athlete to stay on top. Ravichandran Ashwin’s path to become an India player too symbolises that.
A batsman during his junior days, constant failures meant his career had come to a standstill. Known to be mentally strong, Ashwin didn’t get bogged down and instead tried his hand at bowling. He re-launched his career as a pacer before finding his feet as an off-spinner.
The love for batting never diminished though. In the past, the 27-year-old had come up with some useful contributions for the national side but he wasn’t satisfied, he wanted to offer something more as a batsman. Earlier this year, Ashwin decided to work on the finer points of his batting, tighten his game.
Those efforts seem to have paid off as the right-hander helped India take a substantial lead against West Indies with a brilliant 124 coming in at No 8, proving a perfect foil to Rohit Sharma in a 280-run seventh wicket stand.
Ashwin has come good with the bat for India earlier as well with knocks that include a century against West Indies in his third Test in 2011. Even at the Eden Gardens last year against England he stood his ground with an unbeaten 91 as the side collapsed.
“A break is the most important thing to self-analyse, interrogate and improve. I have been working on a few glitches in my batting as well with some technical assistance,” Ashwin had told HT.
“Duncan (Fletcher) has helped me with various technical aspects and I have worked on my batting and I would like to make a powerful impact with that. I want to be a more potent force as an all-rounder and add more value to the team,” he had said, highlighting the crucial role the coach plays behind the scenes.
Former India opener and Tamil Nadu coach WV Raman, who worked with Ashwin on his batting, said the idea was to build on the way Ashwin has ingrained technique. “He always had the ability to play, but he had to stay in middle and try playing for longer durations. He is a touch player and sometimes he got a bit cute by trying to play flashy strokes,” said Raman from Indore, where Tamil Nadu are playing Madhya Pradesh.
Ashwin used his feet well against the spinners, Shane Shillingford and Veerasammy Permaul, during his almost five-hour stay at the wicket.