Offspinner R Ashwin has said that he believes patience will be the key for him and India’s other bowlers on the slow tracks of the West Indies. He would have to be “as boring as possible”, Ashwin said, stubbornly sticking to good lines and lengths to get the better of the batsmen during the four-Test series that begins on July 21.
“I’m sure it’s going to be challenging because of the kind of wickets, the kind of heat… From whatever I saw in the last [warm-up] game, the wickets were pretty slow,” Ashwin told BCCI.tv. “I’m sure I’ll have to be as boring as possible in terms of trying to plug away all day long.”
Ashwin did not play India’s first warm-up game, but said he learnt a lot from watching legspinner Amit Mishra – who picked up four wickets – bowl. “[The pitches are] getting slower. If the wickets are going to be tailor-made for us, if it starts spinning, then we come into our own. But until then, it’s all about patience.
“The other day you saw Mishy bowl for about 15-16 overs without any wickets, but once he got a breakthrough, he started breaking through at regular intervals. So that’s what we have to look for – especially the first couple of days or probably even three days of the Test match, there is not going to be a lot in it for the spinners. There might be a little bit of bounce or little bit of slowness in the wicket that you can exploit, but it’s got to be pretty boring lines and lengths and keep teasing with your flight.”
Ashwin said watching new head coach Anil Kumble bowl in the nets was already benefitting him. He has chatted with Kumble, he said, and knows what the coach expects of him. “He has brought in a lot of meticulousness among the group. There is some very good discipline in the nets. The batsmen get out to the nets at the perfect time for a start, and that’s not been going around for some time [laughs].
“And he [Kumble] has already started bowling in the nets, which is something I pick out notes from. So far, he has provided me with a lot of confidence and a lot of responsibility. It’s been more of giving me the license to try and express myself, which is something I really relish. We’ve had a very open chat and he has already told me what he’s looking forward to from me, and I have already told him what I’m looking forward to him teaching me. ”
With captain Virat Kohli largely preferring a combination that features five bowlers, Ashwin’s batting could also come into play for India. He has been working on it with batting coach Sanjay Bangar, Ashwin said. “That [batting] is something I work very hard on. I have set some goals with the coaching staff, as to what I want to achieve – not just in terms of numbers, but in terms of how correct I can be, how much more solid I can become as a batter.
“And that’s a process, because the first phase is to not give your wicket away and then you can accelerate – I’ve got the shots to do it. Sanjay bhai has worked day in and day out with me, and, at last, he seems to be happy with how it’s shaping up.”
India play a second warm-up game in Basseterre from July 14, over three days, before heading to Antigua for the first Test.