Ashwin, Rahul looking to put a positive spin
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Ashwin, Rahul looking to put a positive spin

With bigwigs like Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Sourav Ganguly around, it is easy to overlook the value of the likes of R Ashwin and Rahul Sharma. Anand Sachar reports. Today's action | Face-off

india Updated: Apr 19, 2012 01:36 IST
Anand Sachar
Anand Sachar
Hindustan Times
Chennai,Chennai Super Kings vs Pune Warriors,Anand Sachar

With bigwigs like Chennai Super Kings' Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Pune Warriors' Sourav Ganguly around, it is easy to overlook the value of the likes of R Ashwin and Rahul Sharma.

However, over the last couple of seasons, these two spinners who have not just anchored their respective teams but have also stood out in this batting-friendly format.

The start to the 2012 season, though, has not been very impressive for the duo. Although Ashwin has kept the batsmen subdued, he has only picked up one wicket in five games.

Sharma, by comparison, has been more effective, snaring six wickets in five games, but he has flopped against Chris Gayle.

Not only did Gayle change the course of the RCB-PWI game on Tuesday by smashing five consecutive sixes in the 13th over bowled by Sharma, the West Indian also brought to an abrupt end the leg-spinner's spell.

Perfect opportunity
T20 cricket can be cruel on the bowlers, so the game between the Super Kings and Pune Warriors at the MA Chidambaram Stadium would be the perfect opportunity for Ashwin and Sharma to make a telling

statement. It was in 2010 that Sharma made his IPL debut for the Deccan Chargers. The same season, Ashwin's ability came to the fore. He finished with 13 wickets, leading the team to its maiden crown.

As CSK clinched their second consecutive crown in 2011, Ashwin, the carom-ball specialist, only became more difficult to handle. En route his 20 wickets in the season, he not only opened the bowling on a number of occasions, but also finished the innings. That year, Sharma found his footing for his new team, the Pune Warriors. Finishing as their top wicket-taker with 16 scalps, his ability to contain the batsmen (economy rate 5.46) stood out.

In fact, the performances the duo in the IPL earned them national caps. While Ashwin is a regular in the India set-up, Sharma has done well in the limited opportunities he has got. Against CSK on Saturday, it was Sharma's spell that helped PWI restrict Dhoni's men to 155. PWI then chased down the target with relative ease.

First Published: Apr 19, 2012 00:22 IST