As a means of preparation for the upcoming Test battle in England, off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin on Tuesday said that he has been following the ongoing series between Sri Lanka and England and is trying to learn about tactics from the Sri Lankan slow bowlers.
“I have been following the Sri Lanka series pretty closely to try and observe if I can take advantage out of what is actually present there, how Sri Lanka is performing against England. Sri Lanka is pretty much familiar to what we do in terms of sub-continental conditions. So trying to understand most out of that,” exclaimed the India spinner at a function organised by Gillette in Mumbai on Tuesday.
“It has been a great Test match, the last one, so I have noticed how Rangana Herath is bowling so that is something I can take a positivity from that,” he said about the Lord’s match that ended with Lanka holding on to a thrilling draw with one wicket in hand. I can only gather what Herath did well and see what I can learn from that. I watched the game closely and that would help me in upcoming test. I was having a look at how the condition was and if the conditions will remain the same or not.
“Sri Lanka has got a couple of good seamers in their team and a good batting line up as well so you never know what England is strategizing against us,” he added. India will commence their tour on 26th of June with a three-day game in Leicester. The visitors will be playing one more warm-up three-day game against Derbyshire between July 1 to 3 before the five-match Test series starts on 9th July at Trent Bridge.
The other Tests are to be played at Lord’s 17th July , Ageas Bowl in Southampton 27th July , Old Trafford 7th August and The Oval 15th August. Ashwin felt the way India start the first test match would set the tone for the rest of the series.
“In any long series I believe how well you start the series is very important for us. We have got a few practice games and we need to jot down something which can be really useful for us,” said the Tamil Nadu bowler who is the fastest Indian bowler to take 100 Test wickets.
Asked about chances that India have against the hosts, the 27-year old said, “Like any cricket game it is a half chance for any team. It doesn’t really matter whom we are guarding against and where we are playing. The start is going to be very crucial for us. How well you start is going to determine how the rest of the series goes.”
About his own preparations, Ashwin didn’t reply clearly. “Nothing as such. I am just looking to basically improve on what I have basically done so far. I have just tried and tightened everything up and made sure that I enjoy every single moment of my game. I have put in all the hard yards and now let’s see how well it goes. It is going to be really exciting and also I am very excited. Talking about my preparation, I will just knock each one down and tick each box and see how it goes. I am just hoping that everything goes really well and I just go there and take it easy and enjoy my time on pitch,” the Tamil Nadu player said.
Ashwin set aside India’s four consecutive Test series losses overseas — in England, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand — as irrelevant before start of a new series. “It’s a fresh tour and you can’t look at the past and go into any future series. It is as similar as someone failing once. You don’t ask them if you are going to fail again. I don’t think we can go into new series with such a mindset.
“I don’t think we are too much into it, to be honest. These labels of being unable to perform at overseas are something that have been going on for a very long time. As far as I am concerned, it is a youth team and all of us are a very good unit, we perform pretty well. I am very much sure everybody has put in their passion and hard work and we would like to go there and try to enjoy our game to the best and just perform well. England is a wonderful place to play cricket,” he added at last.