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HindustanTimes Thu,27 Nov 2014

Cricket

Can Ash-win it for India at Old Trafford?
Siladitya Ray, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, August 06, 2014
First Published: 15:00 IST(6/8/2014)
Last Updated: 16:44 IST(6/8/2014)
When players with track records are benched and their sides are underperforming, heads turn towards options who may hold the answers.
 
Suddenly, the ones to have missed out are back in the mix and talked up as the missing link.
 
Nobody will understand this situation better than Ravichandran Ashwin, who is in the same spot a day before India and England battle it out in the fourth Test, at Old Trafford.
 
No bowler in modern era has taken 100 wickets in as few Tests as Ashwin.
 
While 95 of his 104 wickets have come in favourable home conditions, there is no denying that Ashwin is a gifted spinner.
 
What has deserted him on many occasions though is his patience and perseverance. Experts including those in the studio and of the fankind have pointed out that he overdoes his variations and fails to stick to his stock delivery — the tantalisingly flighted off-break.
 
Ravindra Jadeja has failed to make an impression with the ball even though he has got plenty of press for push-gate, courtesy James Anderson.
 
Jadeja’s inability to turn the ball has meant he has not troubled the English batsmen significantly. The other issue with Jadeja, who has bowled long spells, has been that he has tried to contain instead of attacking the batsmen.
 
Now, the team knows whether that is by choice or compulsion.  
 
Jadeja is a skilled cricketer, but he’s clearly not the man who you want to be your first choice spinner in unhelpful conditions.
 
Ashwin in all likelihood will play on Thursday. India will hope he will enter with an uncluttered mind and do a Moeen Ali. He will also want to prove that he can be equally effective away from home.
 
India will need to rethink their strategy while playing away from home. The 2000s were India's most successful decade in Tests away from home.
 
A glance at the playing XI in most those matches will show the presence of two world-class spinners in Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh.
 
MS Dhoni likes to play only one spinner on foreign shores. It's probably time to revert to the combination that worked best.

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