India’s Ravichandran Ashwin admitted that his promotion to No.6 in the ongoing West Indies series had introduced a change of approach with the bat. He also admitted that while there were two centurions in the Indian innings, it was “very difficult to score” at times.
“It’s difficult to try and think too far ahead [at No. 6],” Ashwin said after scoring his fourth Test hundred against West Indies. “That’s easily possible if you are batting at No. 7 or 8, which has happened to me before when I have batted at No. 8. When I have batted at No. 8, you think like a bowler at times and want to get a few extra runs. So I used to play a few more shots.”
Ashwin’s two hundreds in three innings bodes well for India’s chances of winning this series and the all-rounder admitted that it was all thanks to his preparation prior to the series.
“Thankfully I had a very good preparation one month before the series. I batted quite a lot and devised a gameplan if and when I got a chance to bat at No. 6,” he added. “The idea was to knock as many balls as possible. My goal is very simple. If I get a good start, if I get to 20 runs then I’m going to capitalise on it. Then I’m going to play percentage cricket. It’s all about trying to play the percentages and trying to string together a partnership and not look too far ahead in the game.”
While the 29-year-old admitted that he is trying to “bat sessions”, which is different to his previous approach, he still enjoys it. “It’s time-consuming and concentration-consuming but it’s enjoyable,” he said.
The 213-run sixth wicket partnership between Ashwin and Saha helped India go from 126 for 5 to 353. “When we got together we were in quite a bit of trouble and it was one of the wickets, I don’t know whether it’s improving any bit, where you are not in at any time,” he said. “There was a good chance that you might be nicked off or you might get a good ball any time. It was very difficult to score.
“So we went and bit the bullet quite hard and wanted to just stick in there even if the runs weren’t quite coming. Obviously, the results came later on. It was a good partnership and both enjoyed each other’s company to be very honest.”
Ashwin on his special hundred
Speaking about his longest Test innings, he admitted that this could prove to be a “series-defining” effort.
“I mean if we look at the scenario in hindsight later on, this could very well be a series-defining knock because we were in some trouble yesterday and there was every chance that we could be skittled out and also I thought it needed a bit of application.
“It was not like making a hundred back home or anywhere in the world. I’m sure about that because it was definitely not a wicket where you could just plonk your front foot and play through the line. It was a hard-fought day yesterday and it was no different today. We just hope we can capitalise on the rearguard action later tomorrow.”
Ashwin preached patience after West Indies began strongly and ended day two on 107 for 1.
“Long partnerships came in, one breakthrough and somebody gets into a spell. That’s what we’re looking at. If and when a couple of wickets fall, we can squeeze and jam them in,” he said.
“The thing is that [West Indies] did get some momentum, I believe, from the Jamaica Test, but that’s how Test cricket is like. We didn’t come over here thinking or expecting to roll them over. They’re also a Test team, and in their home conditions, it’s going to be hard and we expected it.”