India’s current leading spinner Ravichandran Ashwin got angry over the criticism of Indian pitches. He raised a question to the critics that why they had not raised any question over the pitch of the 4th Ashes Test match 2015 at Trent Bridge where the match was finished almost in 2 days.
Ashwin also spoke out about the Johannesburg pitch where he struggled to take wickets. He said, “I did not complain after Johannesburg (Test). I was dropped for a year after that. And, I am not going to complain playing here. There’s no reason why I should have complaints. Swing, seam and bounce for two days at Trent Bridge (referring to Ashes)- match over. I don’t know what that’s about,”
He told that batsmen need skills to play the spin. He asked to the critics, “What is the problem about spin and bounce? It is good to have even spin and bounce, isn’t it? It’s about skills for batsmen to play and counter it.”
Ashwin added, “Fortunately or unfortunately, I don’t have the rights over the grounds man, to say over what kind of pitch he needs to prepare. Once that’s done, it is my job to go out and play.”
“The talks about the pitch are getting out of hand. That’s straight from my heart, you can beg to differ with me. There are enough good cricketers from both sides that you can talk about,” he shot back.
Ashwin is in great form in the current series. The South African batsmen are totally clueless to play against his spin.
Ashwin admitted that the early morning bowling on day-2 swung the match towards India’s direction.
“To top it off, this morning the first four balls that I bowled, it pretty much swung the game in our direction. It was copy book stuff. From then on, it was catch-up game for them,” he said about his dismissals early in the day of Dean Elgar and rival captain Hashim Amla in three balls in successive overs which reduced South Africa to 12 for four.
Ashwin emphasized for patience of a bowler to dismiss a batsman on later in this pitch. He said, “On a pitch like this, the bowler who can get the ball to go straight on is going to get the edge into play. That was my plan in the first innings. In second innings, I revised it a bit. In the second innings, we have to be patient.”
He also spoke out their planning for Friday, “We were very disciplined this morning, the same thing we have to apply on Friday. Wicket is getting sluggish by the day, pretty dry and slow. This wicket is where the batsmen need to plan. The areas to score are limited. When you put your feet down and defend properly it’s still quite a hard wicket to get through the defence.”
He sympathized with South African opener Stiaan van Zyl and their off-spinner Simon Harmer for their predicaments.
“He has changed the stance two or three times during the series, taking middle stump stance, standing outside leg stump in this innings. He has looked to hit me inside out. Every time I see a plan, I try and adjust to it. Thankfully enough I have been able to do it.”
Ashwin said that the Proteas have lost the battle mentally.
“Yes, I think it is mental. If you keep getting out to a particular bowler, you feel like you are going to nick one ball off anytime,” Ashwin said about Van Zyl, who has been dismissed by the off-spinner on all five completed innings in the series so far.
“It’s about what best to extract from the pitch. What needs to be factored in is also the amount of rest the bowler gets. Simon Harmer bowled the whole day yesterday and he was back today from the first session. It is not going to be easy. I have been there before,” he added.
Ashwin was happy for Hashim Amla’s spirit of cricket, where he walked to the pavilion without waiting for the umpire’s decision.
“I think the game is a very, very even leveller. I walked (after being given out) in Sri Lanka. He’s walked for me here. I’m very pleased about it, I have a wicket and Hashim Amla is a wicket that I would prize any day,” Ashwin concluded.