Intelligence and game sense have always been two of Ravichandran Ashwin’s strongest attributes. The smart spinner has foxed a number of batsmen with variations in line, length and pace, along with the various types of deliveries in his arsenal.

Up until now, his carrom call was thought to be his deadliest variation, but now the crafty customer has plans to completely reinvent himself and, in the process, change the way spinners are seen in T20 cricket. His new weapon? Leg spin.

However, for Ashwin, it’s more about what it means to try a different kind of spin than the way he’s actually turning the ball.

“It’s not that I’m going to ‘try’ leg spin or anything,” remarked Ashwin while speaking exclusively to, “I’m just going to be the best bowler that I can be.

“Leg spin or off spin, I don’t think that is very important in T20 cricket. You’re just a bowler. You see fast bowlers bowling 20 slower balls these days. It doesn’t make them a spinner.

“I just want to be the guy who has variations up my sleeve and I want to have a go at it. Whichever variety suits whichever batsman on that particular day is what I’ll be trying.”

But in a game where spinners have conventionally resorted to perfecting either wrist or finger spin all their lives and bringing variations around that, bringing in such a radically different ideology can be difficult. Ashwin, though, believes that evolution is the way forward for all cricketers, especially when they are increasingly being put in situations where the pressure to perform in a short period of time is high.

“For anything there needs to be a precedent and probably in this case I might be the precedent,” he hopes. “Unless you try something, you’re not sure it’s going to work, so I reserve my judgement on this topic right now, but I believe that is the future of the way T20 will be played. Multi-utility cricketers will be able to do more than the monotonous stuff that they are picked for.”

As a keen student of the game, Ashwin has observed the prevalent trends in cricket and knows what it takes to come out ahead. In a game which is increasingly favouring the batsmen, the ability to adapt is the order of the day and Ashwin’s advice to bowlers is to know their environment.

“If you look around the world, there is a market for people who turn the ball away from the bat. We must have options up our sleeve,” declared the spinner.