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‘Been working on simplifying my action’ – Ravichandran Ashwin

EDGBASTON: His experience in the County Championship has helped Ravinchandran Ashwin vary his pace and simplify his bowling action for English pitches, the off-spinner said after his 4/60 on the first day of the Edgbaston Test.

Ashwin was largely the reason why England, who were 216/3 at one point, were reduced to 285/9 by the time stumps were drawn in Birmingham on Wednesday.

The 31-year-old had a stint with Worcestershire in 2017 – he scored 214 runs at an average of 42.80, and took 20 wickets in four matches – and he revealed the adjustments he had to make to be as successful as he was on the opening day of the five-match series.

“When I came here for the county stint last year, one thing I had realised was the speed at which the spinners have to bowl here,” Ashwin said in an interview.

“The wickets are extremely slow, even on the first day. You can have a bit of a bounce but if the pace is not right, the batsmen will get a lot of time to play the same ball on the front and the back foot.

“That is something I realised very quickly when I came here. Even over the last 12 to 18 months, I have spent a lot of time back home playing club cricket and I’ve been working on simplifying my action a bit, (to) make sure that I get more body into the ball and try and create something in the air. That’s what I did, and it really worked today.”

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Ashwin went on to explain how, after discussions with Arun and Ravi Shastri, the India head coach, he decided not to rely on the condition of the pitches, and in fact, make them as less a factor as possible.

“We’ve always spoken about taking the wickets out of the equation, especially with how good the wickets are, and the modern-day batsmen actually enjoying playing on these wickets,” he said.

“To a larger extent, that particular thing of doing batsmen in the air is something I constantly worked on. But what happens when you try to do the batsman in the air (is that) the body sometimes just gives up.

“You’re just a touch short or touch full, so I thought simplifying my action was very important. Because I have been through a very good phase of bowling with a particular action, a lot of bad habits have crept in, with my arms coming in and all that. We spoke about it as well.

“I had to really work against my own will, try and tell myself that I have to work on my action again.”

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