In addition to being India’s number 1 bowler, Ravichandran Ashwin has always been known as one of the more cerebral cricketers in the world. We discussed a variety of topics with him, including the evolution of T20 cricket, the balance between bat and ball, spin-bowling in the modern era, as well as coaching and training standards. Part I focuses on the evolution of T20 cricket.
Ashwin has some unique views on the T20 format – he believes that T20 cricket is a completely different sport, and is ‘cricket’s answer to football, in a lot of ways’. He goes on to say that we’re not far away from ’embracing man to man marking’, where a specific, specialized bowler is brought on to break a partnership. He also believes that we could face a scenario where substitutes are used in a T20 game, to accommodate more specialists.
He does however believe that most cricketers haven’t yet embraced this change in cricket, but are rather ‘living the change’.
One of the biggest challenges facing modern cricket, is the balance between bat and ball. Smaller grounds and evolving bat technology have ensured that T20 cricket favours batting far more than bowling. As one of the world’s premier spin-bowlers, Ashwin has a lot to say on the subject. He believes that a time may come when teams and bowlers begin ‘accepting mediocrity’, or that par scores might change completely, redefining the parameters of success.
However, he does believe that spin-bowling will face significant challenges during this period. He believes that the ‘confidence that batsmen have to tonk the ball, will eventually translate into all formats of the game’. In his opinion, the best balance between bat and ball is in Test cricket, and that the minute the bowlers get a little bit of help, the batsmen are almost inevitably in trouble!
We then asked Ashwin for his opinion on the best T20 players in the world. Before answering, Ashwin tells us that in Test cricket and ODI cricket, ‘Individual performances contribute to the team’s success’ and that there is a ‘sense of individuality in a team sport’. T20 cricket, in his opinion has completely transformed the way the game needs to be looked at. A ’45 ball 60′ is not going to be as effective as a ’10 ball 25′. Therefore, to pick the best T20 cricketer in the world is ‘dangerous’ in his opinion, since ‘everyone will have to settle in to role-plays’.
That said, Ashwin says that ‘the kind of consistency that Virat Kohli has shown amazes me’ and his recent performances have been ‘phenomenal’.
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