Ashwin defends Indian batsmen

Ashwin defends Indian batsmen

Ravichandran Ashwin

Indian off-spinner R Ashwin sprang to the defence of his batsmen, despite their abject surrender — barring skipper Virat Kohli — being the primary reason behind the defeat in the opening Test against England here on Saturday.

“I think it was quite a tough pitch to bat on,” said Ashwin at the post-match press conference. “I don’t think batsmen from both sides were able to make runs with a lot of freedom barring the partnership between (Joe) Root and (Jonny) Bairstow in the first innings and then Virat from our side. It has been quite a struggle that way so I think we need to give batsmen some space that way.”

While Ashwin may the rue the defeat, individually though it was a very satisfying performance. He bowled Alastair Cook twice, both deliveries stunning in the way it was delivered and deceived the opener. He also finished the game with seven wickets, setting himself up nicely for the challenges ahead. Ashwin said he’s in a great mental space at the moment which has been helping him bowl well.

“For me its all about this mental space I find myself in. I don’t dwell much into the way I have bowled (in England previously), it is in the past as of now. It is important to try and learn from this game and take it to the next game. These are not conditions that are extremely suitable or tailor made for a spinner so I would like to take confidence out of this game and try and move ahead and build on this.”

Ashwin also felt there’s no point being deflated and sooner the team picks itself up, the better it is. “Like Virat keeps mentioning, when you make runs and pick up wickets, you want to make sure that it is a killer blow and you want to end up on the winning side. It gives you more pleasure out of the game and when it doesn’t happen you feel a little deflated about it. But as I told you before, this game was like a seesaw battle and there was enough in there for the quicks and it was doing quite a bit.

“So they were always in the game. So with that sort of a game hanging in the balance, I thought we competed really well throughout the match. There are a lot of things to be upbeat about so not completely feeling deflated and in this space I feel like we did well and there is something we can learn going ahead in this series.”

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