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22 Dec 2017

Ashwin working on leg spin ahead of SA tour

Ravichandran Ashwin and his bag of tricks

India's master off-spinner, Ravichandran Ashwin, is working on 'leg-spin', adding yet another variation to his bowling arsenal, ahead of the India's tour of South Africa.

His spot in the limited-overs has been under threat from new age bowling revelations Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav.

Being the ever adapting cricketer that he is, let's look at how Ashwin evolved as a bowler over the years.

In context

Ravichandran Ashwin and his bag of tricks
India's mainstay Test spinner


India's mainstay Test spinner

After making an impression in IPL, R Ashwin made his ODI debut in 2010 and in the Tests in 2011.

While he has 300 plus Test wickets to his name, also being the fastest one at that, the common complaint against him been has been his away performances.

To overcome this, he has added a number of variations to remain relevant in Test cricket.

Bowling career in numbers

Ashwin has 304 wickets from 55 Tests at an average of 25.44, 150 scalps from 111 ODI matches with an average of 32.91, and 52 T20I wickets from 46 matches.

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Variations in Ashwin's bowling

The need to stay relevant, with the demands of various formats of the game, led Ashwin to add variations to his bowling style quite often.

While off-spin constitutes his stock deliveries, he specializes in carom ball delivery effective in dislodging the tailenders.

Other variations include top spin delivery, ability to bowl sliders with the new ball, and the latest of all, the 'leg-spin'.

When too much of variation is problematic

Patience the key

When too much of variation is problematic

While a slump during 2013-14 caused him to tinker with his bowling style, Ashwin has been guilty of trying too many things rather than sticking to one line.

However, over time, he matured as an intelligent bowler who now knows how to have a right amount of mix to be able to pull a surprise delivery and play with batsman's mind.

India tour of SA

Will Ashwin be picked ahead of Chahal or Kuldeep?

As India prepare to kick off their tour of South Africa, the question that haunts Ashwin is if he can reclaim his spot in the shorter format of game. He played his last ODI in June this year.

Flat tracks in South Africa, and success of Chahal and Kuldeep could mean Ashwin being dropped out of ODI squad despite him working on the 'leg-spin'.

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