India head coach Rahul Dravid is a firm believer in match-ups and Men In Blue has been more of a data-driven unit under the former India captain of late.
“I don’t think players necessarily naturally believe in matches, but I think it’s an area where teams and tactical edges are happening,” Ashwin said during the pre-match press conference.
Match-ups are a concept where a team decides based on data which bowler has a clear edge over a particular batsman or which batsman is more useful at a particular time of the game.
“I think it’s safe to say that one end of the spectrum is to plan for all those things (matches), but as a bowler you have to bowl to a lot of batsmen all the time,” he said.
Ashwin does not believe that one particular bowler should bowl to one particular batsman.
“I think it’s a feature that exists, and it’s definitely being developed. As a playing unit, to just believe in it and say this guy will bowl to this person, you can’t work like that. But I think it gives a tactical advantage for teams,” he agreed.
As a bowler, one must know exactly what the pressure points are.
“You have to constantly know where the Achilleshine is and work on it and try to get better. You want to add that to your skills, whether it’s with the bat or the ball.”
India have never played international cricket Down Under in proper Australian winter and so Ashwin does not have a reference to know what he is supposed to expect.
“It would be unfair to say it’s different or it’s anything because we’ve never come to Australia at this time of year.
“In general, when it comes to the sport itself, conditions are king. So, you have to understand that this is what is presented in front of you.”
While one can do endless amount of analysis and strategic dissection, Ashwin for one believes that the shortest format does not give anyone time to think.
“As I said, T20 is one sport where you have to adapt quickly and also react quickly. You don’t have the time or the bandwidth to be able to think, assess and deliver. The time span is very short.”
While teams like Sri Lanka, Australia or England had a chance to play at least two matches at one particular venue, this was not the case with India as commercial demands meant that Rohit Sharma’s team moved from one city to another others jumped.
“Some other teams managed to stay in one place a few times and play at a certain venue, which Indian team did not have the luxury of doing and rightly so.
“There are a lot of Indian people across the country who want to watch the game, so it’s understandable,” Ashwin said of the practical difficulties.
In these conditions, it is the Indian fast bowlers who set the tone as Ashwin took 3 wickets in 4 matches.
“The roles were almost the fast bowlers set the tone. Being a spinner who comes in at 9 or 10 in the back half and then does the work for the back is a role we have to adapt to,” said the Indian team resident . Cricket scientist’ said.
And Ashwin, by his own admission, is content with the role of bowling at the back end of the innings.
“It’s not like I haven’t done that role before. It happens every now and then in the IPL. So, the demands of the game, what the situation is and what you have to deliver for the team is exactly what you call adjustments .”