The responsibility of drawing first blood may rest on the Indian seamers in the Tests against South Africa but there is no denying the critical role that R. Ashwin could play in the middle and concluding stages of a match.
With 104 Test wickets from 18 games, Ashwin has done remarkably well, but it is a record largely embellished by his success at home.
In the three Tests that he played in Australia in the 2011-12 season, the off-spinner bagged nine wickets averaging 62.77.
And, he is keen to make amends, and improve his record overseas.
“I am here looking to fight. I want to take it to the field and see where I can actually do it. Be it with catching, be it with bowling or be it with batting, I am prepared for all,” he declared.
“I am just going to make sure that I at least give it my 100 per cent and try for a series win. It cannot get any better. It means the most to me in life.”
India’s current leading spinner said that he was happy with what he did in the ODIs.
“I wanted to test the conditions, see how much it responded to what I was delivering. Yesterday (in the game at Centurion), the Test match was more on my mind. I thought I could toss a lot more balls up and see where it goes. Definitely, the ball was drifting much more.
“I think it’s got to (do) much in the air in terms of what I’m planning to do here…try and set fields and bowl straighter lines. I have chatted to a few people (Ravi Shastri) who have been here,” Ashwin said.
When a scribe suggested that the ODIs were disastrous for India, Ashwin responded saying: “I never like to call any series disastrous. It is a big word and ‘disastrous’ is something that you say when a World War occurs.
“But what happened wasn’t great. (We are) hoping for a better Test series, and we are confident,” he said.
Keywords: India-South Africa series