Antigua: It was Ravichandran Ashwin’s efforts with both the bat and ball which helped India secure their biggest win outside the sub-continent and the Chennai spinner said he values himself as an all-rounder.
India on Sunday beat the West Indies in the first Test by an innings and 92 runs, with Ashwin picking up figures of 7/83. Earlier, while batting in the first innings he had scored a brilliant 113 off 253 deliveries.
“I always value myself as an all-rounder,” Ashwin told bcci.tv.
“Not like I don’t look at myself that way. Batting at six, there is always that many opportunities to score a hundred than when you are batting at eight. So, I have started off well on that note. Batting at No.6, I have managed a five-for as well. I just hope I can go from strength to strength from here.” The 29-year-old, who was awarded the man-of-the-match, said it was captain Virat Kohli who sent him to bat at No.6 ahead of wicket-keeper batsman Wriddhiman Saha.
“Batting at No.6 was a complete surprise for me, Virat (Kohli) told me in the morning of the game that I would be batting at six, and I really liked what he said. “He said: ‘We trust you, and we want you to bat at six and see how it goes’. I wanted to give something back to the team, and show that I was good batting at No.6,” Ashwin said.
On the first day, Ashwin came out to bat with India at 236/4 and then had a big partnership of 168 runs with Kohli till next day’s lunch. “I wanted to lend some solidity,” he said. “It was quite a tiring innings because I played about 250 balls, and after that to come out and exhibit how I could bowl after a tired innings. I was very pleased with that.”
Ashwin was pleased his first five-for outside Asia too, after having made his debut against the West Indies in 2011. “It has taken more than five years for me to repeat it (take a five-for) outside the sub-continent,” he said. “That is something I wanted to break: getting a five-wicket haul away from Asia. That is something I worked earnestly towards and was very pleased for myself.”
Ashwin also praised coach Anil Kumble for his inputs during the match. “In the second innings, I was constantly in touch with Anil bhai also about what is the right speeds to be bowling,” Ashwin said. “We were constantly in touch through different occasions of the game. I went wicketless for the first 25-26 overs I bowled in the match, and in the past it would have definitely troubled me. I am someone who likes to keep getting wickets.”
“I kept on speaking to him about what I was doing right and what I was not doing right. He felt my body was not going through well yesterday because I was a little tired,” he added. “Also, he told I had to slow down at the crease, gave me different ideas about what lines to bowl to batsmen.”