NEW DELHI: Offspinner R Ashwin’s fondness towards implementing more variety in his bowling is a known fact, but the latest addition to his long-list of variations – the legspinner – a feature he has constantly used in the IPL 2018, has not impressed Kris Srikkanth. According to the former Indian batsman, Ashwin, captain of Kings XI Punjab, is more dangerous when he is bringing the ball into the batsman, a factor he has completely taken out of the equation with bowling legspin.
“R Ashwin has led the side brilliantly. There is a lot of positivity about him. That he is a thinking cricketer is only well known, but to put those thoughts in the field and get them executed is an art and he seems to be ticking all the boxes nicely,” Srikkanth wrote in today’s TOI.
“At the same time, I am not a big fan of Ashwin bowling legspin. With the variations up his sleeve as an offspinner and the ability to take the ball away from the right-hander, I feel Ashwin has enough to trouble the best in business. Given his track record (in all formats), I don’t think Ashwin needs to prove anything more.”
Ashwin will have to marshal his troops well on Thursday when Kings XI Punjab take on an unbeaten Sunrisers Hyderabad. The Kane Williamson-led side had received a big jolt when David Warner was excluded from the IPL following the ball-tampering scandal but has shown no signs of weakness under the New Zealand skipper. With wins over Rajasthan Royals, Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders, SRH stand at six points and Srikkanth feels that Thursday’s encounter between Sunrisers and KXIP promises to be an exciting battle.
“Kings XI have been mighty impressive with their collective thrust while Sunrisers have proved time and again what a proper bowling combination can bring about in T20s. To me this is easily the most exciting match up in the IPL. It is early days yet in the league, but Kings XI present a well-balanced picture. Credit must be given to Sehwag for picking the right men and Ashwin for bringing out the best in them,” he wrote. “SRH have got things going swimmingly smooth. Where I would like them to be tested is: chasing a stiff target. If the first three games are an indicator, a target in excess of 170 could really put the skids on them.”
Srikkanth believes that Sunrisers, despite winning all three games, have shown over-reliance on Shikhar Dhawan as far as batting is concerned. The likes of Wriddhiman Saha and Manish Pandey are yet to repay the franchise’s faith in them. Their victory over Rajasthan Royals was fairly straightforward, but they were made to toil against Mumbai Indians, before sealing a one-ball win in a modest chase.
“As much as the team management would like to say that they don’t miss David Warner, I think the truth is a touch off. At the moment the batting is too heavily reliant on Shikhar Dhawan. Yes Kane Williamson is a class act, but his style of play does come in with a few limitations (in T20s). The clash this evening could well be holding the mirror to both the sides and their respective strengths and weaknesses. It’s also Kings XI’s final game in Mohali this season and I am sure they would like to leave with an all win record. Both these sides have proved tough nuts to crack once they have a head start.” Srikkanth wrote.