On a wicket that offered a lot of bounce, it was R Ashwin who made optimum use of the conditions at the WACA, registering career best figures of 4 for 25 against the UAE. With three wins in as many games, India next meet West Indies at the WACA on Friday.
For Ashwin though, preparations remained the same irrespective of the opposition. “In terms of approach or preparation towards the game it is going to be the same because we are prepared for every other team the way we have prepared for the big teams,” Ashwin said. “It is not going to be very different and I am pretty confident about executing my skill tomorrow.”
When asked if he had any specific plans to keep Gayle quiet, Ashwin was of the view that his main motive was to take wickets against batsmen who have been a dominating force in international cricket. “It is not just about Chris Gayle, it is about any other hard-hitting batsman when it comes to my bowling.
As far as I am concerned I will look to get their wicket and go strongly for getting wickets of any batsman that I think is pretty dangerous. I like to throw myself in the middle and try and see how much of an impact I can make in a game against Chris Gayle or AB de Villiers etc. I look to get them out in the middle because once you get them out the game is going to go your way.”
The off-spinner has been going through a rich vein of form so far and has bowled at different stages of the game. He has been given bursts of spells and at the same time introduced during crucial junctures of the game. Ashwin credited the rest of the bowling unit as well when it came to applying sustained pressure throughout the innings.
“If you get a couple of wickets up front, then the entire game turns on its head. As far as the spinner is concerned, when I come in, I have got that little bit of more freedom. Having said that, I just made up my mind that I am going to bowl this way in the entire tournament, and there are times when I prepare for such big tournaments as to what I am going to be doing and come what may I will try and execute it. That has been one of the reasons that I have come out and expressed myself in these major tournaments. I like the big stage and I would like to assume that I like to do it my own way.”
Ashwin also looked at the four fielders outside the circle rule as an opportunity to pick wickets. “You’ve got to restrict the hitting towards one side of the ground because you have got three fielders. You need to maximize those three fielders and try and see how much you can restrict the hitting towards that side. If there are pockets that open up, and there are times when you feel you can attack, like in the batting powerplay.
I think the batting power play is a very good time to attack because you don’t give a lot of singles and it is pretty much about boundaries and wickets. In that case you can restrict the hitting to one side and try and look for a wicket or two.”
Looking ahead to the knock-out stages, Ashwin stressed on taking it one game at a time instead of worrying about the tournament’s permutation and combinations. “There are three games left and Ireland has also played good cricket. We are pretty aware of what is happening around us in the group. It's very important that we take it one game at a time. It is not just even going into the quarters and semis.
We like to treat every game like it is a knockout game so that it propels us in a good state.