It's time Ashwin let the ball do the talking
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There's always a sense of self-assurance, almost smugness, about most things that Ravichandran Ashwin does on and off the field that at times it's difficult to fathom the kind of day he's had in office, especially if it's been a bad one. Thursday in Johannesburg was a great example.
Only the previous day, Ashwin had completed an ODI series, where he had gone for 169 runs in 168 balls and taken a solitary wicket in the bargain, a week that he wouldn't want to recall with great pride. You couldn't have made that out, though, as he insisted that he had achieved whatever he wanted to during the 2-0 drubbing speaking during a media interaction.
It was the combative Ashwin who had turned up, the one that sticks to his guns, even if it means taking that self-confidence a bit too far. Over the next half hour, he would reiterate how he was ready for a `fight' and that he wouldn't go down without a fight come the Tests. Somehow you couldn't help but believe in his assurance. During the same half-hour, Ashwin also ended up stressing a lot on the significance of being patient as a spinner to experience success in these conditions. On that front, it just didn't sound convincing enough coming from him.
Persistence and patience, or a lack of it when things haven't gone his way, has after all always been Ashwin's downfall. Just like has been the case ever since he landed in South Africa. While you wouldn't question his gumption for a challenge, the off-spinner's major drawback was his inability to put much pressure on any of the home team batsmen, to keep them in check long enough. Only twice during the ODI series did he manage to bowl three straight dot deliveries. While his economy rate didn't make for great reading in the first and third ODIs, rarely did he beat batsmen in the air or through deviation off the wicket.