Ravichandran Ashwin
Ravichandran Ashwin flanked by Presley Polonowitta (left) and Ramesh Ramakrishnan during the tie-up function. Image Credit: Courtesy: Saleem Sanghati

Dubai: India’s Ravichandran Ashwin believes that spinners should have mastery over all types of deliveries.

Though hailed as an outstanding off-spinner, Ashwin now bowls leg spin, carom balls and is rapidly adding many more deliveries to his armoury.

In an exclusive interview to Gulf News, Ashwin said: “I think the earlier you recognise such changes in the game the better. More often than not I feel we recognise things a little later in life as cricketers. We tend to adapt a little later. I think I may have been ahead of times in terms of bowling leg spin and off spin in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and all that and it was quiet successful last year. To me how ever much you can improvise, how ever much you can innovate, one should do it. The thing is whenever you innovate or improvise it is important to try to master it before you deliver it. You should also have the ability to go out there and carry it out despite lot of people not liking it or criticising it.”

Ashwin’s attempt has been heavily criticised but he says one should withstand it all. “That is another challenge because change is something most people are resistant to but I am one, if I believe in something, I will go out there and do it,” said Ashwin, who is here to conduct a master class for the Desert Cubs Gen-Next cricket academy till November 10 in Dubai and Sharjah. “I believe the game has changed and especially in the white ball format and so it is very important to have more in your arsenal.”

Ashwin attended a function held at the Holiday Inn Embassy District to announce the tie-up between his own Gen-Next Cricket Institute and Desert Cubs in the presence of Leap Sports’s Ramesh Ramakrishnan, who initiated the tie up, and Cubs’ head coach Presley Polonowitta. New Balance was also announced as the apparel partner in the tie up during the event.

When asked about the multitude of analyses and comments over his bowling, Ashwin said: “I have actually got to a stage where I understand my cricket really well. I have played for almost 10 years now and ideally it shouldn’t be affecting me. In fact I have turned a deaf ear to lot of these analyses and when there is an active criticism or very positive criticism I definitely make sure to read it and there are lot of people who have been comfortable or very active towards even directly calling me or messaging me in terms of what opinions they have. That is a very healthy thing to have but otherwise whatever is done on TV or whatever is done for viewership, I take it with a pinch of salt.”

Ashwin, who has bagged 336 Test wickets, 150 in ODIs and 52 in T20Is, revealed that coaching youngsters despite leading a busy international cricket career has helped him a lot. “I set up my cricket academy nine to 10 years ago, so whatever I am today is only because of having imparted my knowledge and trying to coach youngsters.” he said. “I have gained more out it for myself. In my view learning never stops. Even after you retire you will end up learning a lot of new things especially with this game. This game is highly skilled, the skill component of the game is so high that not one method with suite everybody so there are times when you keep on learning and there will never be an end to it.”

To a query on what is more important whether it understanding the pitch or understanding a batsman, Ashwin, known for his astute knowledge of the game, said: “Both are equally important because as a bowler you need to understand what sort of deliveries and how you bowl and how the pitch is reacting to certain deliveries. Of paramount importance is how well the batsman is treating those deliveries from that particular surface. Your adaptation is mostly with respect to you understanding the batsman’s way of game. So however the pitch might be whether it skids or spins, depending on how the batsman is handling, you will have to adapt.”

Ashwin then went on to speak about the oncoming tour of Australia. “It was during the tour of Australia where I started re-discovering myself as a bowler and learnt a lot more,” he said. “Again in Australia the speed at which you bowl and at what time you attack and when you are able to defend and how much you are able to give off time to the fast bowlers and how you can bottle up the runs, all these come into play especially if you are playing as one spinner in the team. For me it all about going there and adapting and try and enjoying my game at this point of time.”

So is it the best time to win in Australia? “This a question I keep getting all the time. To me we had good chances in South Africa and England. I feel we played good cricket as well. Some would say the rub of the game did not go our way but some have the opinion that unless you do it there is no point in calling yourself the best side. I think we are a very good side. If we can do really well and stay in the moment and I think the Australian tour will also be a good tour. It is very important to stay in the moment and try and enjoy yourself.”