Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who returned with his career-best, match-winning haul of 12 for 85 against New Zealand in the first Test match at Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Hyderabad on Sunday, says he is pleased that the happy days are back again not just for him but for the entire Indian team.
“Well, for the whole team it was a tough one year so far. This is the best possible start really. I am really happy,” Ashwin informed media after India wrapped up the Test match. “If you remember the last time New Zealand was here two years ago they did bat well and almost drew the Test series,” he pointed out.
The star performer from India stressed that he was never the one to get bogged down by a poor run or be happy with good performances. “I prefer to let the ball do the talking, keep working constantly on various aspects of the bowling,” Ashwin pointed out.
“Well, this is a venue where we have not won the Test last time. We came here with lot of apprehensions. Given this backdrop, it is a good start to the series and the focus will shift to second Test in Benguluru where the Kiwi batters are expected to come up with better plans. We have to be up against that,” he remarked.
Referring to the close-in catching which was very good in both innings, Ashwin said it was really good. “There were some terrific catches. Especially the one Sehwag to send back Franklin. These are the kind of efforts which put pressure on the batsmen and which the bowlers relish a lot on these tracks,” he said. “In fact, these helped me push for the five-wicket haul and also close in on the match,” he added.
Questioned whether there were any apprehensions when Brendon McCullum and Kane Williamson were batting well, the Indian offie did not think so. “These things (partnerships) do happen at any level and all we have to do is to stay focussed, stick to basics, price them out and be patient,” he said.
Ashwin picked the dismissals of Jeetan Patel in the first innings and New Zealand captian Ross Taylor in the second innings as the best of all his victims in the match. “I think even Franklin’s dismissal today was not far behind,” he said with a proud smile. He also felt credit should be given to his spinning partner and left-armer Pragyan Ojha. “It is always important for the bowler from the other end to build pressure and I think he did a very good job,” he signed off.
Kiwi captain disappointed
For his part, Kiwi captain Ross Taylor said he was certainly disappointed with the innings defeat in Hyderabad. “I think both Ashwin and Ojha bowled in the right areas to get the wickets. But, we do need to look forward,” he said.
However, Taylor was in no mood to debate the lbw decision against Brendon McCullum when TV replays showed a clear deflection off the bat. “There is no DRS system. The umpires are human and they may err,” was all he said diplomatically.
On the second Test in Benguluru, the New Zealand captain said they had to work out a little bit on batting technique against the spinners on these wickets. “But again, it is mostly in the minds. We have to clear it as early as possible,” he concluded.