R Ashwin said not picking a single wicket in the Johannesburg Test during the tour of South Africa in 2013 was akin to a hit on his professional pride and forgetting that had helped him take three wickets against South Africa on the first day of the Centurion Test. (IND v SA Day 1 report)
Set a target of 458 to win, South Africa fought to draw the Johannesburg Test in 2013 as Ashwin bowled 36 overs without any wicket. He had a better day here, dismissing openers Aiden Markram and Dean Elgar before snapping up Quinton de Kock’s wicket in the last hour to round up a fine bowling performance. (IND v SA Day 1 highlights)
“The one thing I have comfortably done is conveniently forget the history about South Africa. I am well over it and I want to put it behind me and stride ahead forward,” said Ashwin at the post-match press conference when asked about the 2013 tour. (IND v SA Day 1 scorecard)
“More than having to make changes from the 2013-14 tour it was a reality check in terms of not being able to win a Test match for the country on day five when all things were actually set up for a spinner. It was kind of hit on my professional pride and from there on I knew I had to work on certain things. Obviously you don’t take wickets you don’t get bull headed and believe things will get better from next time. I am not made that way at least.
“So I worked on making my action a lot more repeatable and I worked on the wrist position at time of release and also added a few things up my repertoire and used my wrist a lot more when I bowl and used my palm more when I bowl the flipper and etc. etc. obviously these things have combined over the last few years, I have had a great time over the last 2-3 years. I am just taking the confidence forward and I am trying to get better as the day goes and by the end of this series I will be a far better bowler than what I started.”
Ashwin did bulk of the work for India, bowling 31 out of the 90 overs in the day. However, there was a feeling India could have applied more pressure if Jadeja had been bowling from the other end, like they do back at home. Ashwin hinted that they may have missed a trick by not picking Ravindra Jadeja but added that since South Africa too had picked just one spinner, it would make sense to debate it after the game finishes.
“Hindsight is a very easy teacher,” said Ashwin when asked if he missed Jadeja. “I feel the wicket did spin a bit but it was not outrageous. It was very slow and there was bounce , sometimes people watching the game mistake bounce for big spin and whatever it is. I would say both teams have gone with four seamers so as far as that question is concerned, it is status quo now and we will see how the game finishes and hindsight will be the best,” he said.