Kevin Pietersen feels Ravichandran Ashwin wasn’t at his best and that had to do with the fact that the India spinner was ‘chasing milestones’ on Day 4 of the 2nd England Test at Visakhapatnam. Ashwin, who began the Test four short of 500 Test wickets, picked up three wickets in the second innings after going wicketless in the first, but the former England captain reckons the veteran spinner could have proven to be a lot more effective had it not been for the pressure of the landmark.
Ashwin gave India their first breakthrough of the second session, first dismissing batter Ben Duckett late on Day 3 when England began their chase of 399, and then dismissing Ollie Pope and Joe Root in the first session. Ashwin, currently stranded on 499 wickets, almost completed his 500th when he seemingly had Tom Hartley out caught, but DRS saved the England tail-ender, extending his wait for the elusive scalp.
“Ashwin was just chasing milestone. That’s why he didn’t bowl as well as he could have bowled. He did get it right on occasions. I thought he was way more threatening bowling wider outside off-stump round the wicket. I think he bowled over the wicket way too much to the right-handers. He can change bowling over-bowling around-bowling over more,” Pietersen told official broadcasters after India’s 106-run win over England on Monday.
Ravichandran Ashwin creates history nonetheless
Having said that, Pietersen was not in favour of the idea that England had found a way to tackle Ashwin. The veteran India off-spinner with figures of 3/72 from 18 overs, became the leading wicket-taker in India vs England Tests overtaking the legendary BS Chandrashekar. The wicket of Pope was Ashwin’s 96th against England and he took his count to 97 when he dismissed former captain Root. Pietersen anticipates that Ashwin will shake off the monkey on his back once he reaches the milestone of 500 and return to his optimal performance.
“I’m certainly never going to say that he hasn’t got it or the England bowlers have found him out. He is a tremendous bowler and he’s got some big breakthroughs. It is about the team; it’s not about the individual. He will want one more wicket and when he gets that may you’ll see him a lot more relaxed, the shoulder drops and I can just now get on with the game,” added the former England batter.