Former India opener Gautam Gambhir expressed his displeasure at Ravichandran Ashwin’s approach against Sunrisers Hyderabad during his team’s encounter on September 22. Ashwin bowled a wicketless 2.5 overs for 22 runs, using nearly all his variations during his bowling but not using his stock off-spin enough.
Ashwin was introduced into the attack upon Marcus Stoinis’ exit as the latter pulled his calf and went off the field. Ashwin came close to getting a wicket when SRH skipper Kane Williamson had edged him behind, although wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant spilled the chance to give him a life. Williamson was later undone by Axar Patel, while Delhi Capitals eventually won the encounter by 8 wickets and over two overs to spare to reclaim their top spot in the points tally.
Gambhir, meanwhile, was critical of Ashwin’s strategy of using only his variations. “He is currently the best off-spinner in the world but he didn’t bowl off-spin at all. It is necessary for him to first understand that he is an off-spinner. It was an ideal situation for him where the opposition was three or four down,” he said on Star Sports.
“There is no doubt that you have not played cricket for a long time, you didn’t play the four Tests and the match pressure is completely different, whichever format it might be, you should have bowled your traditional off-spin until you were hit for a six,” Gambhir added.
I am sure that going forward he will bowl more off-spin: Gautam Gambhir
Gambhir went on to suggest that Ashwin should have tried to bowl Test match-type bowling to get back into his rhythm.
“You should have bowled the Test match-type bowling and got back your rhythm and feel. Whether it is batting or bowling, everything is about the feel. We saw the knuckle ball at the start itself. The entire world knows that you have variation of all types, you can bowl the googly, leg-spin, knuckle ball but you are still an off-spinner.”
The 39-year-old confessed that he was slightly disappointed by Ashwin’s performance but also backed him to come good, going forward in the remaining tournament.
“You can get wickets with off-spin also. It is not necessary that it is T20 cricket or white ball, so you have to show your variations. He disappointed me a little from that point of view but I am sure that going forward he will bowl more off-spin because he is a world-class bowler.”