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Ashwin under focus after barren spell

india Updated: Nov 19, 2012 11:17 IST
Firoz Mirza

In the build-up to the India-England series, R Ashwin, the lanky off-spinner from Chennai, was billed as the trump card for India to avenge the 0-4 thrashing they suffered in England last year.

The bowler fortified the belief by winning back-to-back 'player-of-the-tournament' awards in the home series against West Indies and New Zealand.

However, the magic seems to be waning as he could scalp only three wickets in the first innings and went wicketless on Day Four of the first Test on a turning Sardar Patel Stadium track. Ashwin bowled 41 overs in the second innings without success as England avoided innings defeat and are still fighting to save the Test.

Lacking Stamina
"It seems we are not used to bowling long spells. Our bowlers seem to be fit only to bowl four-over spells. The players looked tired and it was visible. One can go wicketless, that's not a problem, but bowling in the right areas is the key and that was missing," said former India left-arm spinner Bishan Singh Bedi.

"Right areas are not on the surface, but in the brain. And if you are not using it, then pitches can't help you. And, most importantly, you have to enjoy the game, but India players were apparently not enjoying it. We must also give credit to Alastair Cook," Bedi added.

Another former India spinner, Maninder Singh, though, felt the Motera pitch keeps getting slower and lower as the match progresses, making life difficult for the bowlers. But he was also disappointed with Ashwin.

"I am a bit disappointed with his performance, especially against the left-handed batsman. He was bowling down the leg. Besides, the spinners were not bowling the length that would have made England batsmen drive through covers or mid-wicket."

He also felt Ojha was not 'completing' his action. The former left-arm spinner also blamed skipper Dhoni: "He sometimes sits back and waits for things to happen. Field placement for spinners was also not up to the mark."