England have arrived in India for the Test series starting November 9. They had won the series in 2012-2013 with a 2-1 margin. However, this time it would be rather difficult to contain the Indian juggernaut. The reason is that many players including R Ashwin and captain Virat Kohli are in the form of their lives. Also, the team has learnt to play as a unit. The players have learnt to hunt in packs rather than relying on a lone wolf.
In the series against New Zealand, India won the series 3-0 and there were many great individual performances. Bhuveshwar Kumar took wickets in the first match, Mohammed Shami bowled reverse-swing beautifully. In the batting department, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, Gautam Gambhir contributed. They won because every player contributed in some way or the other. However, one man stood out with a stupendous show in the bowling department– R Ashwin. He is going to wreck havoc on the English players.
R Ashwin took 27 wickets in the series against New Zealand. That’s not a stand alone performance. He has been instrumental in most of India’s home wins. And he is getting more dangerous with every match he plays. His numbers are staggering. Ashwin has taken 220 wickets in just 39 Test matches. Out of these, he has taken 153 wickets in 22 home Tests. These are not ordinary numbers. Even former England batsman Kevin Pietersen admits this.
Pitersen has cautioned the England batsmen against his ‘doosra’.
“When I’ve played against him, I could pick his doosra, so I was OK. But if England’s batsmen can’t pick his doosra they’ll have issues. I was always looking to smash his offspinner.,” IANS quoted him as saying.
“The low bounce might make it harder, but that’s part of the challenge of playing in India,” he added.
“Ashwin is a good bowler. He uses his variations very well, especially the way he approaches the crease. He’s always looking to attack and outfox a batsman,” he said.
Though, Kevin just cautioned them against his ‘doosra’, Ashwin has many weapons in his armour. His biggest asset is not his ‘doosra’, but his brain. Ashwin plans his kills well. He finds chinks in the armour of the batsmen and gets them out as they like to get out. For example, New Zealand batsmen were not judging the pace and bounce of the ball in the Third Test. Ashwin just bowled slow off-spinners to get them out. All perished on similar deliveries. Ashwin has a plan for England batsmen and they are in for a surprise.
Also, there are other spinners as well who can annihilate any batting lineup in the world. Jadeja and Amit Mishra are world-class spinners. They keep up the pressure on batsmen.
England have exposed their weakness in Bangladesh as a rookie spinner Mehedi Hasan scalped 13 English batsmen in a match. That was only the start of their bad times in the Indian sub-continent as Ashwin is on the prowl and he is hungry for wickets.