A lower-order batsman, who started his nascent Test career with a blob on debut, has come a long way in a short span of three weeks.
R. Ashwin's batting pedigree — 1174 first-class runs from 36 matches — was known to avid fans of domestic cricket, but to the larger world, the Tamil Nadu player was probably only a tailender.
Ashwin's 103 during the third Test here was the kind of knock that would make any top-order batsman proud. He walked in when India was in a spot of bother but quelled the West Indian challenge with a fluent effort that culminated in his maiden Test century.
“I did not set targets when I walked out to bat but after the first few minutes I knew I would do well under these conditions. The situation demanded a partnership and I am glad I was able to contribute,” Ashwin said. The off-spinner, who already has a tally of 18 wickets in the series, said he was quite relaxed during the nineties despite having only Pragyan Ojha for company.
“To be honest, I was more nervous when I was on 49. Once the 50 was achieved I knew it was only a question of waiting for the loose delivery. I was pleased with the way I timed the ball. I promised Ojha after my hundred that I would not play a rash stroke but ended up doing just that. I will concentrate harder in the future,” he said. His last words will surely goad rival teams' analysts to also focus on ‘Ashwin the batsman' in the coming days.