Ravichandran Ashwin and Team India put on a perfect performance in the second Test against England in Chennai with a series-leveling victory by a colossal 317 runs and proved that the loss in the first Test was an aberration and they are back to their nigh-invincible form at home.
There was very little doubt, if any, that Ravichandran Ashwin would be named the Man of the Match after his complete all-round skill display; the 34-year-old picked a fifer, scored a hundred, doing it all in front of his home crowd made it even more special.
After the game, he said that the pitch was very different from the one used in the previous Test – however, it was the skepticism in the English batter’s minds which brought their downfall as plenty of wickets fell to the balls which didn’t turn.
“This wicket was very different to the one we played on in the first game. This was a red soil wicket, the first one was a clay wicket. As much as people were predicting things from the outside, I thought the balls that was doing much wasn’t getting wickets. It was the mind of the batsmen that got us wickets,” Ravichandran Ashwin said in the post-match presentation ceremony.
That innings in Sydney really set the tone for me: Ravichandran Ashwin
R Ashwin credited batting coach, Vikram Rathore and vice-captain, Ajinkya Rahane for the massive improvements in his batting, after below ordinary returns in the matches preceding the Australia series. He opines that his fourth innings knock in Sydney – Ashwin batted for 128 balls in a big partnership with Hanuma Vihari to save the match – had given him immense confidence about his batting revival.
“I have been playing for years over here now and it takes pace and guile to do it. Keeping intent was very important. It is very important to put pressure on the bowlers because if you allow them to dictate terms, it is going to get easier. I just wanted to take it upon myself, and after I connected the first ball, I knew I got a hang of this wicket. I am someone who tries hard, and when things don’t go my way, I try harder.
“Vikram Rathore has been very supportive. My batting was more about hands, to think tactically instead of technically. Ajinkya played a crucial role in telling me that I was overthinking it. That innings in Sydney really set the tone for me,” Ravichandran Ashwin revealed.
I get a hero’s feeling playing here at Chepauk: Ravichandran Ashwin
The lanky off-spinner also spoke about how he enjoys playing in Chennai and felt like a hero scoring runs and picking wickets as his home crowd cheered and celebrated along with him. R Ashwin has snared 4 five-wicket hauls at the Chepauk in as many Tests.
“I am enjoying my game and am really happy it happened in Chennai. Every load up gives a different result in terms of which way the pitch is behaving. I try and load up differently, use the breeze, use different angles to release the ball, speed of the run-up. This is working because I have created this awareness for myself. I have been playing it for the last 25 years. I really had to express myself.
[In Tamil] As an eight-year-old I have come here on these very stands to watch cricket. I have played four Test matches here and easily this is the most special. I get a hero’s feeling here playing cricket in Covid times, and this knowledgable crowd came out in big numbers. They were 1-0 without the crowd, and we made it 1-1 with them. Hopefully, we can take it forward,” the Man of the Match awardee further added.
After a week’s break, the third Test, which is a Day-Night contest to be played with the pink-ball, will commence on 23rd February in Ahmedabad.