The Twenty20 format is the most unforgiving for bowlers. Flat pitches and boundary-hungry batsmen mean the onus is on the bowlers to keep things under control for their team. In the initial years of T20 cricket, there was a suspicion that it will dig bowlers into an even deeper hole. But the numbers tell a different story, with top-class bowlers winning teams matches more often than they are given credit for.
Ravichandran Ashwin is among the top spinners when it comes to having a miserly economy rate, especially while bowling in the Powerplay overs where the pressure is really on. After being crowned as the King of the North, Ashwin wants to use that as a fulcrum in forming his team and changing perceptions.
“I see a lot of responsibility in terms of getting the bowlers up to speed, especially in this day and age with T20 cricket, almost every bowler goes for runs irrespective of the quality of the bowler. That is the truth at the end of the day. If I can get a wrap around that and get the team to buy into it while overall turning things around as to how we see a T20 game, I would have achieved half my goals going into the league.”
The far-sighted leader that he is, Ashwin is not just trying to change the overall perspective of bowlers in a T20 game, but also set the tone for generations to come.
“We have a couple of years ahead of us and we can really shape this team into a really strong unit,” said Ashwin confidently.
Viru-paaji eyes the big prize
The Kingsmen seem to have a well thought out and cohesive strategy coming into this season, which was clear from their approach since the first day of the VIVO Indian Premier League auction. The team’s Director of Cricketing Operations, Virender Sehwag, was clear on picking Ashwin as the captain of the side because he believes good bowling captains have been the past, and are the future as well.
“I was a big fan of the captaincy of Kapil Dev, Imran Khan, and Wasim Akram - these are big name bowlers in world cricket who captained their side and delivered results,” mentioned Sehwag, “For instance, if a ground has an average score of 210 and if your bowlers bowl well and limit the opposition to 190, then the bowlers have done the batsmen's job. And knowing the way bowlers think also helps a captain execute plans with them accordingly”.
Ashwin, who has already captained Tamil Nadu in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, sees this as an opportunity to showcase his craft in the T20 format.
“I have learned quite a lot about captaincy in recent times and I have matured a lot as well. Hopefully, I can use all those experiences. I am sure I can put my best foot forward. I am confident of it,” said a determined Ashwin.