Former Test spinner Erapalli Prasanna is highly critical of Ravichandran Ashwin’s performance for India while playing abroad, saying the Tamil Nadu tweaker “lacks deception” in his bowling.
Ashwin, in his last five ODIs in South Africa and New Zealand, has taken only a single wicket bowling 46 overs for 271 runs.
“It’s simple. Ashwin lacks the required deception to trouble international batsmen. Deception is a quality that should worry your opposition. Not only the batsman who is facing you should be worried but also the man padded up and due to come next should also be worried. The deliveries should work on his mind also,” said Prasanna.
The 73-year-old Prasanna, who had 189 wickets in 49 Test matches, also questioned Ashwin’s tactics of stopping at the crease while bowling.
“I am not very sure if you can call that variation. May be he is imagining that he is deceiving the batsman but does he realize that it is just a single delivery. Once the batsman reads it, he will play the delivery easily over after over,” the veteran off spinner pointed out.
Another aspect of Ashwin’s bowling that Prasanna disliked was coming round the wicket to right-handed batsmen.
“You need to be aggressive as a bowler. If Ashwin is coming round the wicket to a right-hander, then automatically you are removing leg before decision out of equation. Which means your mindset is negative. You are only trying to stop the flow of runs and not get wickets. That’s not acceptable,” he said.
Prasanna did not mince words when he pointed out how Ashwin has only been successful on “spin-friendly” tracks in India.
“If I am not wrong, Ashwin I believe got 95-96 of his Test wickets (95 out of 104) at home. And even in those wickets, a bulk of it against West Indies, who didn’t have quality players against spin bowling. The only team that came with a lot of homework was England and Ashwin hardly looked effective against them”, he said.
“During our times, myself, Bishan (Bedi) and Chandra won matches for India on foreign conditions irrespective of help from track,” Prasanna said.
Prasanna said that given a choice, he would rather pick Harbhajan Singh in place of Ashwin atleast in limited overs version though he was not a great fan of the seasoned off-spinner.
“I was watching Harbhajan’s bowling during Ranji Trophy semi-final against Karnataka. I wasn’t really impressed with two wickets. In a Ranji match, he should be able to run through the sides.
“Having said that I would pick Harbhajan ahead of Ashwin in ODIs as he is quicker through the air and bowls flatter which will restrict runs. Ashwin is neither being able to check runs nor take wickets,” he explained.
Prasanna’s comments on Ravindra Jadeja’s performance was not charitable either.
“Even Ravindra Jadeja’s bowling is quite predictable. He has only the odd ball that turns away from right handers. Otherwise, he only bowls up and down stuff (cricketing terminology for flat bowling)”, Prasanna said.
“He bowls a faster one trying to get leg before decision. On good batting wickets, international batsmen would wait for two to three overs and then attack him. He would go for 60 plus runs. I am not very sure how these two spinners would perform in next year’s World Cup,” he concluded.