Ravichandran Ashwin revealed how he analyzed Steve Smith’s hitting.© AFP
Team India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin revealed in detail his execution of certain plans prepared for batters such as Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne. Ashwin, who threw excellently in India’s recent series win against New Zealand at home, explained that the complicated techniques of both batters took time to be deciphered before he could beat them. While explaining the thought process behind Smith’s batting, Ashwin spoke of his nearly six-month “obsession” that helped him get through the batter’s psyche and describe his demise.
In an interview with ESPNCricinfo, Ashwin said, “I’ve made him (Steve Smith) my obsession for about six months, not just two weeks or three weeks. Just footage, just watching different matches.”
Ashwin also spoke about researching the understanding of collecting batters in different parts of the field. He quoted how to keep an eye on each session in which Labuschagne played and the bowlers who threw at him and the tactics used.
“The most recent series they played (before India toured Australia in 2020-21) was New Zealand. I would go through the game every day. I would go to my app and look – how many runs (Marnus) Labuschagne put on the hitting was when Will Somerville come bowling? What ball did he hit over the cow corner?” he added.
Continuing to analyze Smith’s percussion, he referred to the Australian’s playing style as “momentum-driven” with specific attention to his hand movement patterns. According to the spinner, different speed, run-up and variations in bowling helped Smith over the course of a series.
“…with Steve Smith, his punching power is very momentum driven. Most of his stroke comes from his hands, so my whole idea was to disrupt his hands throughout the series. He has certain hand movement patterns. You have to pick them and be able to to bowl in a way that disrupts his hand pattern. So I bowled with different loads, different speeds, different run-ups and stuff. I realized I kind of got him,” Ashwin explained.
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