Ravichandran Ashwin is re-inventing himself as a bowler. While his off-spin has seen the fall of many a batsman over the years, it is the Tamil Nadu bowler’s leg-spin that is now catching everyone’s eye in the ongoing Vijay Hazare Trophy.
Ashwin spoke about bowling leg-spin after his side Tamil Nadu’s match against Gujarat. “I am just trying to build my armoury,” he said. “I used to bowl good leg breaks with my off-spin action when I was playing league cricket in Chennai. Over a period of time, in a search to get my stock ball right, I obviously had to cut out a lot of those things. I had possessed a lot more variations. Having bowled off-break as the stock ball for almost 10 years, trying to change things around is challenging. But I don’t really settle for anything.”
And in this clip from Tamil Nadu’s match against Goa below, Ashwin can be seen picking up a couple of wickets bowling with an action that is eerily similar to India’s most successful leg-spinner in history, Anil Kumble.
#VijayHazareTrophy: Following 2-38 in 9 vs Gujarat, Ravichandran Kumble came up with another quality spell of leg spin with 10-2-30-2. The two wickets coming off a leg break (batsman nicking off to slips) & a googly (bowled). Here's a sighter of @ashwinravi99's spell! ? #TNvGOA pic.twitter.com/mK0pIPprJg
— Srini Mama ? (@SriniMama16) February 6, 2018
Even though Ashwin’s wickets could not get his team over the line against Goa, he followed it up with a three wicket haul against Mumbai. Aditya Tare was among the Mumbai batsmen dismissed by Ashwin’s leg-spin, and said the following about facing him.
“I wouldn’t say we were taken off guard, His action was like how a traditional leg-spinner would bowl. He bowled with an action like Anil Kumble. Ashwin is one of the great spinners of world cricket. He knows where to pitch the ball to gain maximum impact.”
Ashwin has recently been out of India’s ODI side, being excluded from the ongoing tour to South Africa to accommodate Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav. However, adding the new weapon of leg-spin to his bowling armoury may hold Ashwin in good stead in the future, with bowling in limited overs cricket increasingly requiring variation.
Tamil Nadu’s next match in the Vijay Hazare Trophy is against Rajasthan on February 14, and it could see Ashwin further experimenting with more variations in his bowling.