Ahead of his 100th Test, Pujara reveals Ashwin’sspecial tactics’ against Joe Root

Ravichandran Ashwin will receive his 100th India Test cap in Dharamshala on March 7. For what will be the moment to remember for the spinner, his good friend and former teammate Cheteshwar Pujara has revealed why Ashwin is among the best to ever play the sport.
In his column, the Test batting maestro detailed in depth what Ravichandran Ashwin tried to do against arguably the best English batter of all time. Pujara wrote, “If you look at his record, Root has always been a proactive batter—he will either try to play the sweep or reverse sweep, or try to rotate the strike so he doesn’t have to face six balls off any particular bowler. I’m not saying that Root doesn’t defend well, but overall, his game plan is to put bowlers under pressure.”
“To counter that, Ashwin’s tactic has been to keep Root on strike by taking out the short leg or other close-in fielders, leaving just one slip, and placing a fielder at square leg to prevent the single. It doesn’t matter whether you are playing on a flat pitch or on a turner; Ash wants Root to defend those six balls and see how he reacts. Even on a slow pitch, where the ball might not carry to slip, I have seen Ash keep a short third and a deep point just to block Root—or any other batter who plays the reverse sweep. It is a battle of wills between two top players, which makes for an engrossing contest.”


Mar 4, 2024 12:21 PM