After a superb effort to help Chennai Super Kings defend their Indian Premier League crown, off spinner Ravichandran Ashwin explains how he plotted the downfall of Chris Gayle in the final against Royal Challengers Bangalore. Ashwin will be key for the depleted World Cup winners in the West Indies. Excerpts:
Were you surprised to get Gayle for a duck?
A wicket is a wicket whatever time it comes about. You can't plan against someone like Gayle. If you think too much about him, you can get defensive. I was confident that I can get him and I did.
Was it a planned dismissal?
He has been batting really well this year and has been extremely selective in his strokes, which to me was the real difference. My plan was not to give him any pace as everybody knows what Gayle can do with it. Lack of pace meant that he had to use his feet and mind.
Did getting Gayle out caught behind give you extra satisfaction?
Very much. I knew he won't step out to me at all. I had in mind that at Wankhede he had pulled me for a six.
This plan was made in Bangalore that I'd spin a few past him and then slip in an arm ball to get him out lbw or bowled. But yesterday it spun and bounced and I think Gayle was a little late for his shot.
How do you train to bowl with a new ball?
Firstly, I like bowling with a new ball. Secondly, I bowl in the nets with it as well. I just like the feel of it, the seam and lacquer helps it to skid off the wicket.
How crucial is MS Dhoni the wicket-keeper for your success?
It is interesting that you ask me this because people only ask how important is Dhoni the captain. I rely a lot on the bounce, therefore a good 'keeper is extremely crucial. With Dhoni, the caught behinds and stumpings have gone up many notches in my bowling. He understands the trajectory, the variation and the bounce that I get.
(Dinesh Chopra works for ESPN Sportscenter)