India’s ace off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin is working on his new variations for the all-important South Africa test series starting from 5th January 2017.
He has been a match winner for team India in Indian conditions where pitches are helpful for spinners. Ashwin became the fastest bowler to take 300 wickets in test matches.
He has been selected in the 17 man squad for the 3 match test series against South Africa. Last time when the Indian team went to South Africa in 2013, Ashwin could not pick any wicket in the first test match at Johannesburg and then in the second test match he was dropped from the team. Ravindra Jadeja was selected in the playing XI and picked 6 wickets.
Ashwin record in South Africa has been poor. His experience of playing county cricket this season would help him if he gets selected for the playing XI. The first test match will be played at Cape Town from 5th January.
The next two test matches will be played at Centurion and Johannesburg. R Ashwin has practiced leg spin deliveries and would hope to deliver the results when the team requires the most.
Ashwin has done a great job in picking wickets on spinning pitches. Now the real test would be to provide wickets at important times against top quality South African batsmen like AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis, Hashim Amla. South Africa is a tough side in their own conditions.
The pitches in South Africa would not help spinners much. His role would be to take wickets and also control run flow when a partnership is going.
It will be interesting to see if Ashwin or Jadeja plays in the XI for the first test at Cape Town. If Ashwin plays in the first test match, it is going to be important for India’s off-spinner to focus on normal off spin deliveries or try the new variations which would confuse the South African batsmen.