Ashwin backs his 'stock' delivery

Ace spinner hits out at criticism

Criticised for his perceived dependence on the carrom ball, off-spinner R Ashwin dismissed such suggestions maintaining that he has always relied on his stock ball more than anything else.

The 26-year-old bowler put India firmly in driver’s seat with returns of 3/30 against New Zealand on the second day of the opening Test here on Friday. And all his wickets came off off-break deliveries. “I don’t want to compare between the start of my Test career and now,” he said when asked if he is more confident about his off-breaks now. “I have always maintained that I have always relied on my stock ball much higher than I have on the carrom ball. Yes, it has done the trick once or twice, I have got people out with it, but it’s not that I bowl one every over.”

Further elaborating Ashwin said: “We play a lot of one-day and T20 cricket and I need to be one up and I would rather try that (carrom ball) more often in a one-dayer or a T20 game because inevitably I would get hit. I think it is a comparison drawn from there. I have played enough first-class cricket to know what the stock ball is. I would rather get pinned down bowling the stock ball than the carrom ball. The carrom ball is much more of a defensive mechanism and not an attacking ball at all. I don’t know where that comparison comes in at all.”

India introduced spinners as early as in the eighth over and the condition of the ball, Ashwin said, helped them purchase more bounce. “I think the new ball was a little bit hard and the seam was a little more upright when we spinners started bowling. That helped us get a bit of bounce and get a few wickets up front. As the ball got older, it was slowing up a little bit. We have to be patient to get wickets tomorrow. We will have to stick to our guns and try to wrap up the innings quickly. There is a little bit of bounce if it is slower through the air. Quicker through the air is obviously going nicely on to the bat,” he explained.

Ashwin said the 400-plus score appeared more than adequate now, from where they could even enforce follow-on. “If it’s an early wrap up (tomorrow), we should be eyeing follow-on. With respect to how the wicket is behaving and it being a little bit cloudy, I think we should be looking to bowl twice and get the job done.”

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