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IPL 2023: Ravichandran Ashwin never rests on his laurels; always trying to out-think the batter, says Graeme Swann
New Delhi |Thursday, 2023 2:45:09 AM IST

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Though leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal may be Rajasthan Royals leading wicket-taker in IPL 2023 with 17 scalps, it is repeatedly seen that Ravichandran Ashwin is the one the side looks up to whenever the going has got tough for them.

With 14 wickets in 11 matches at an average of 21.64 and economy rate of 7.39 while going only wicketless twice, Ashwin is also the only off-spinner to be in the top-ten wicket-takers list, especially in a time where their existence is deemed to be in danger in white-ball cricket.

Former England off-spinner Graeme Swann believes Ashwin continuing to work hard to outwit the batter instead of relying on previous successes has been one of the reasons behind him sparkling for Rajasthan in IPL 2023.

"I think he's just really, really good and he has been for so long. The thing with Ravichandran is, for so long, he's been at the top of his game. But he just never rests on his laurels, he's always trying new things and trying to out-think the batter. He won't bowl the same delivery twice when facing him and he forever has his pads on, talking to the coach and captain to 'let me be in to bat'," said Swann, an IPL expert for JioCinema, in a select virtual media interaction on Wednesday.

"He wants to be the centrepiece of every game, which is very important as a spinner to have that mindset – be the centrepiece and match-winner of the game. If you do that, your confidence grows from it. If you have spinners who don't want to bowl or bat, you can't really count upon them under pressure."

But whenever there's a pressure situation, Ravichandran Ashwin is there to deliver for the team with bat and ball. I love the fact that he's still going and with the impact rule coming in now, it's safe to say he has got another five years in him," he added.

Apart from Ashwin, Swann has also been impressed by Kolkata Knight Riders' mystery spinner Varun Chakaravarthy and his younger counterpart Suyash Sharma. While Chakaravarthy has picked 17 wickets in 11 matches and has excelled in delivering tough overs, Suyash has been making a splash with his stunning googlies while taking 10 scalps in eight games.

"I am really impressed with Chakaravarthy this time because he got into the Indian team a couple of years ago. But he seemed to freeze a bit and didn't look confident in the Indian jersey. I was worried that he might just fade away, but he has come back really strongly this year. He looks just as good, if not better, than his amazing season two years ago," the former England spinner said.

"Also, I have been impressed with Suyash Sharma -- bowling those offies and googlies with his massive hair flowing like a lion's mane. He's the future and superstar in the making, forcing his way into the team with brilliant performances. I have really enjoyed (watching) those two. To be honest, I have been impressed with the standard of spin throughout the IPL," he added.

While Varun and Suyash have been the shining lights for Kolkata in IPL 2023, Sunil Narine has been a pale shadow of his best-self, unable to stop the flow of runs or able to pick wickets aplenty. But Swann believes Narine needs a stroke of luck to get his mojo and confidence back.

"That's an interesting one because he's been playing for so long. People will say that he's done, but I don't think that. He has shown that even the best players in the world are very fragile in terms of confidence. If their confidence disappears, they are just fallible to a poor run of form, just like a rookie or someone in their second season," said Swann.

"I still think he's bowling alright, but he just looks like bowling without confidence in himself. Sometimes a little bit of luck -- a bad ball getting you a wicket and ball turning square to get the batter out, suddenly it feels like you are back and feels right again.

So, I am not writing him off as I will still pick him in my team. His batting has been a concern, as that's a massive confidence game. But as he's not taken any wickets, he's not getting the runs as well. Ideally, he will find his spark of form," he concluded.



( 767 Words)

2023-05-10-20:36:01 (IANS)


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