The Story

Indian spin bowling wizard Ravichandran Ashwin made a satisfying county debut yesterday. He kicked off his English sojourn with a bowling spell of 29-1-94-3, the second best spell of the innings for Worcestershire after fast bowler Ed Barnard who snapped 4 wickets.

His debut was keenly awaited by Indian cricket fan. It is no secret that all the Indian player become more impressive after county stints. For Ashwin, who is currently No. 3 bowler in ICC Test bowling rankings, this current stint with Worcestershire is very critical from his career’s point of view as he doesn’t boast of a good overseas record. The uncertainty of his bowling performance overseas is such that, at times, his place in the side is also unsure despite being the bowling spearhead.

He will look to gain as much as experience as he could probably gain by bowling on greener and unhelpful pitches.

India will be coming here to play 5-Test series. Ashwin surely wants to come here next year and play a key role in India beating England.

“It’s not just about next year,” Ashwin said to ESPNcricinfo. “It’s always been a dream to play county cricket. I grew up watching it on TV in India and it has always meant a lot. Spinners have come before and told me it is a must-do experience. I was being rested from a series [against Sri Lanka], so I thought I might as well come here to get experience.”

The Debut Game

Ashwin took the field as Worcestershire player on August 29 against Gloucestershire. His side batted first put up a challenging total of 363. He made his presence felt even before picking up the ball as he hit a crucial knock of 50-ball 36.

Later on, with the ball, Ashwin opened up his county tally with the wicket of wicketkeeper Garath Roderick caught and bowled for 9.

The second wicket took some time and came in the form of Kieran Noema-Barnett who was trapped lbw. His last wicket of the spell was Craig Miles who caught off low full toss delivery.

Ashwin spoke about the challenges that were put in front of him during the spell.

“They put down a few catches. But catches go down. It is part of the game. They are fielding close to me for the first time so I would not blame them. I wanted to work on exploiting the rough, on using angles and on using a greasy ball. My bowling figures aren’t so important; it’s about making a difference for the team and challenging myself to bowl in tough conditions.”

Watch his spell here

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