‘Why did you stop me from bowling leg-spin?’: Ashwin asks Murali, gets stunning reply

Updated on Aug 15, 2020 07:38 AM IST

In the chat with Murali, Ashwin revealed how the Sri Lanka legend had stopped him from bowling leg spin when the duo were playing together for Chennai Super Kings in the early years of IPL.

R Ashwin and Muttiah Muralitharan(Ht Collage)
R Ashwin and Muttiah Muralitharan(Ht Collage)
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | Byhindustantimes.com

Sri Lanka legend Muttiah Muralitharan and India’s Ravichandran Ashwin in one frame, discussing spin is a treat for any cricket fan. The treat gets grander when both off-spinners reveal their fondness for bowling leg-spin.

Ashwin is one of those cricketers who has made use of the lockdown situation to entertain fans by interviewing current and past cricketers not only from India but also other parts of the world.

His recent interaction with Murali in DRS with Ash is nothing short of a cricket fan’s delight.

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When Ashwin first burst onto the scenes, he was labelled by many as a T20 specialist who loves his variations. It’s a different story that he is currently India’s spin-spearhead in Test cricket and hasn’t played any limited-overs match for the country since 2017. But Ashwin’s love for variations still stand true.

In the chat with Murali, Ashwin revealed how the Sri Lanka legend had stopped him from bowling leg-spin when the duo were playing together for Chennai Super Kings in the early years of IPL.

Murali: I bowled leg spin for a few years in my school days, the reason was Ruwan Kalpage, also a Sri Lanka cricketer, who was also an off-spinner. There was another Test spinner in our age-group, a left-arm spinner. With two spinners playing in our team, I didn’t get a place. So for variation, I bowled leg-spin for a few days and they selected me for a season.

I have confidence in bowling leg-spin but not sure it would have come out well in Test cricket. Bowling leg spin and spinning the ball, bowling googlies is easy but landing the ball correctly is difficult.

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Ashwin: You saying this made me remember, to play U-19 cricket, you’ll bowl leg spin to get into the team but when I wanted to bowl leg spin, remember what you told me? ‘Why are you bowling leg spin? Bowl off-spin, you do that very well.’ Why did you say that to me?

Murali: Me bowling leg spin was to get into the U-19 side. Now you are going to try and play for India and the selectors say then only want leg spinners, the onus is on experience. Only when you take wickets, you will get the confidence. It’s about proving yourself. Not just proving yourself by bowling leg spin. Instead, take more wickets by bowling off-spin that’s a challenge. Even I got dropped in my career.

They’ve dropped me from one-dayers but I didn’t bowl leg spin. I challenged them with my off-spin and took wickets. So I thought you forgot that challenge, that’s why I said it.

Ashwin: Now you’re saying this but after you told me that I only bowled carom balls and off-spin. I didn’t bowl leg-spin even next year.

Murali: That’s why you are here now.


Murali, who has more than 1300 international wickets – the most – also narrated how he started off as a fast bowler during his school days.

“I was interested in the game when I was very young. I started playing I was 8 but as a fast bowler, spin didn’t come naturally to me.

“When I came to U-13 levels my coach told me so you’re not going to get any taller, so fast bowling won’t be your thing. Bowl off-spin instead, he said, and taught me. The first ball I bowled spun, because I automatically put my wrist into it,” he added.

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