Indian spinner Pragyan Ojha has asserted that Indian offie R Ashwin, on the field, has emerged as the bowling captain of the team. He also added that Ashwin plays with a lot of confidence that comes when there is no fear of getting dropped from the side, which is the case with him.
R Ashwin has put behind all the criticism that he has received in SENA countries to emerge as one of India's most impactful bowlers in the ongoing tour of Australia. After an exceptional display in the Adelaide Test, the Indian off-spinner continued with his great run of form at the MCG as well, as he picked up five wickets in the second Test again making a crucial contribution in the first innings to set up the game for India, which they eventually won to level the series.
Reflecting on Ashwin's brilliant form and rhythm, Pragyan Ojha has stated that the seasoned spinner is no longer a rookie and is playing with the confidence that he isn't playing for his spot any longer.
"Ashwin knows exactly what he wants to do. He’s not a rookie anymore. He has been to Australia and now he doesn’t have to play for his spot. That’s the most important thing for a player. Once you don’t have the fear of getting dropped from the team over poor performance, then your body language changes. You have a little bit of cushion to do certain things,” Ojha told Sports Today, reported HT.
Ashwin has been all over Australia's best Test batsman Steven Smith, taking him out twice in four innings to have him completely at bay. Ojha reckons Ash has been brilliant in terms of planning, and is the bowling captain of the team.
“That’s what is making a lot of difference for Ashwin and with the role he is playing now. On the field, he is the bowling captain. So, these responsibilities are helping his enhance his performance. He has always been spot-on about his bowling and planning,” Ojha added
Ojha, who has played a number of Tests with Ashwin at home and was once among India's leading Test spinners, also added that Ash's mental aspect of the game has been on the rise and he knows he can take wickets no matter what the conditions are.
"A guy who has picked up almost 375 Test wickets, so I think, he should be a good planner. But the only difference I see is, mentally he is there. He thinks that it’s him who has to do well for his team and he is the leader of the bowling unit.
“He is not worried about the alien conditions. Normally, when you are travelling to Australia as a rookie, you don’t know how the wickets are going to be or the Kookaburra ball is going to help you. Ashwin has gone past all these and he knows whatever the situation is, he will deliver,” Ojha said.
India and Australia will take on each other in the third Test at SCG from Jan. 7 onward. Right now, the four-match Test series is leveled at 1-1.