Former England captain Nasser Hussain has opened up on Ben Stokes’ repeated struggles against Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin. Even as Ben Stokes has established himself as a world-class all-rounder and a game-changer with the bat, Ravichandran Ashwin has continued to have his number in the ongoing Test series. And Nasser Hussain has an advice for the southpaw.
Ben Stokes started the ongoing Test series tremendously by playing a counter-attacking knock of 82 in the first Test. It helped England to set up a mammoth total and win it comfortably by 227 runs. But the second match was a nightmare for the all-rounder as he perished for single-figure scores in both the innings, dismissed by Ashwin and doing so as much as ten times in Tests. As a result, the visitors suffered a heavy defeat by 317 runs.
Nasser Hussain underlined that the key against Ravi Ashwin would be the tempo since attacking the off-spinner for the left-handers would not be easy and cannot recklessly do it. At the same time, Hussain believes that Stokes should not be stuck at one end and must use the bat at all times, mainly when the ball spins sharply out of the rough.
“The key will be his tempo. He cannot be recklessly attacking and just go after Ashwin. If it was that easy, other left-handers would have done it by now. But he cannot just be stuck at one end facing him, either… Ben has to use his bat at all times, including when the ball is spinning sharply out of the rough, which all left-handers have to cope with when facing a bowler with as many variations as Ashwin,” Nasser Hussain wrote in his column for Daily Mail.
Slog-sweep is a high-risk shot against Ashwin in India: Nasser Hussain
The cricketer-turned-commentator further said that one of Ben Stokes’ go-to shots is the slog sweep and executed it well in his unforgettable knock at the Headingley against Nathan Lyon. Nevertheless, it is a risky shot against Ashwin in India. The 52-year old claimed that Stokes was smart not to go for those in the second Test; however, he could do it in Ahmedabad if the surface is true.
“The problem for Stokes is that one of his go-to shots is the slog sweep — we saw it in that magnificent innings at Headingley when he kept on slog-sweeping and switch-hitting Nathan Lyon — but that is a high-risk shot against Ashwin in India. Stokes is a very smart cricketer so he didn’t go to the sweep that much in the second Test, but he did execute a few successfully when he made 82 in the first game. It may be an option again on Wednesday in Ahmedabad if the surface is truer,” he added.