I’m fighting my own benchmarks – R Ashwin
R Ashwin has said that he is “fighting my own benchmarks” because his Test performances overseas are being measured against his heroics in India. Despite being the country’s best long-form spinner in this decade, there has been only one instance of Ashwin playing every match of a Test series held outside Asia.
Various factors have contributed to this situation, including injury to the player and selection based on horses for courses logic. Take India’s most recent Test tour. Ashwin played the first match against New Zealand in Wellington but lost his spot in the next one to Ravindra Jadeja as the team management sought to bolster their batting firepower.
Despite this trend of not being picked consistently for overseas matches, Ashwin said his numbers since the Johannesburg Test in December 2013, where he went wicketless in 42 overs, have “significantly increased.”
In an extensive conversation with Sanjay Manjrekar for ESPNcricinfo’s Videocast series, he said: “See, one thing is for sure. I’m actually fighting my own benchmarks in a lot of ways. The number of games that I’ve managed to win for my country and for myself, the number of successes I’ve had and the excellence I’ve shown is always measured up in equal parlance when I travel away from the country, which is great.”
“Increasingly the number of games I’ve played in England, I’ve started realising that for a spinner to be bowling in alien conditions and to be able to repeat similar numbers (as at home), you need to be bowling in all the possible right times of the game, first. And, secondly, you do need a little bit of luck. After 2014 [December 2013] when I had that South Africa game, I’ve taken a very serious look at my numbers and those numbers have significantly increased very, very well.”