Ashwin can run through Australia, feels KL Rahul

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 05 Mar 2017 09:16:33


Mar 4,


INDIA opener Lokesh Rahul is hopeful that premier off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin would be able to match Nathan Lyon’s performance on a track that has crumbled on the first day itself.
Rahul stood tall amidst ruins as Lyon grabbed eight for 50 in India’s meagre total of 189 on the first day of the second Test against Australia.
“We know Ash (Ashwin) is a top class bowler and once he gets a couple of wickets and gets into that rhythm, then he is going to run through the Australian batting line-up, which we are very confident of,” Rahul said at the post-match media conference.

Rahul also said that Ravindra Jadeja can also prove to be handful if he can use the roughs as effectively as Lyon has done.
“Jadeja didn’t get to bowl a lot today but like Lyon, he too has a lot of rough to bowl on to the left-handers outside the off-side stump. If he can come in and bowl consistently on the rough, we will get a lot of wicket,” he said.

Rahul said the cracks are opening up and its getting harder to bat on this wicket.
Rahul said that the wicket was pretty much similar to the one that they get while playing for Karnataka in Ranji Trophy games but cracks open up a bit during domestic games.
“I think this is a pretty much the same wicket we get for Ranji Trophy. May be the cracks start to open up at the end of the second day or the third day. But here the wicket was pretty dry and the cracks were prominent there.”

Their bowlers, especially when Starc bowls from over the wickets, he creates that rough for Lyon which helps them get that spin and bounce,” he said.
Rahul was feeling his shoulder a lot but said there was no point taking a medical break.
“Medical treatment at that time wouldn’t have really done a lot of good for me. So I looked to continue and tried to play a few shots which didn’t go my way,” said the youngster, who missed out on a well-deserved 100.
“I had to look to get as many runs as I can with the last two batsmen there. That was the stroke which was giving me a bit of a problem in Pune. So I had to restrict that shot, but in the last few overs I had to look to take that chance and risk which I knew would give me some pain. But medical treatment at that time wouldn’t have really done a lot of good for me. So I looked to continue and tried to play a few shots which didn’t go my way,” he said.

Rahul observed that dampness in the pitch contributed to Lyon getting turn.
“Initially, the new ball was coming onto the bat really well. Once the spinners came on, I felt that the wicket was a little damp during the first session. That’s why they were getting some spin and the ball was holding to the wicket. To drive or to go over the top wasn’t really easy,” he said.
Lyon exploited the rough created by Mitchell Starc, said Rahul.

“Once the ball got older, and there was more rough outside the off stump, Lyon exploits the rough. He kept bowling there consistently and got some purchase out of the wicket. That’s about it,” he said.
Asked how difficult was Lyon to face, Rahul said, “Like I said, there is a big rough that Starc creates and we all know Lyon bowls fast into the rough. It gets a little difficult to play him if he starts getting some spin and bounce. He was very consistent, kept putting the ball there and kept asking questions. He got the rewards this innings. We will see what we can do in the second innings, come hard at him, find a way to get him away.”

On his gameplan, Rahul said: “As soon as the spinner comes in to bowl, it is important for an opening batsman to not let him settle. So that’s what I tried doing. The wicket was a little damp so he was getting a lot of bounce. I felt like if I swept I could get the top edge. They had the fielders back right from the first ball. We couldn’t really get the big hits or boundaries. So I looked to play time and tire out the bowlers,” he said.
Rahul also said they were getting singles pretty easily when he was with Ajinkya Rahane and Karun Nair and that’s why he didn’t play too many big shots.

“Strike was being rotated and we were getting three to four runs without any risk. That’s when I decided that I will be happy with the singles and may be then they will pull the fielders in and I can take a chance. But that didn’t happen because we kept losing wickets at regular intervals,” he said.

He defended skipper Virat Kohli’s error in judgement.
“Virat’s delivery (one he faced) didn’t spin as much. The whole over it was spinning and bouncing and that ball went straight, which can happen. Karun and Ajinkya looked set, they were batting on 20 each (Rahane 17), and looked set. We were getting runs quite easily. Our gameplan was to attack the spinners when ever we could but sometimes it just doesn’t go your way. We have to take it in our stride and come back stronger,” he added.
Asked which knock was satisfying compared to Pune, Rahul said he is very happy with both the innings, but felt the need to build more partnerships.

“Nothing is satisfying. I am happy that I can contribute and it’s my responsibility, batting up the order, that I bat as long as I can and get as many runs as I can. I am happy with both innings and how I batted but may be we need to build more partnerships. That becomes my responsibility also to tell the batsman coming in what shots we can play and how we can hold on to this partnerships which didn’t happen in Pune and here as well,” he said.

On opening issue, Rahul said more than volume of runs scored, it is important as to what they can offer for the team.
“More than worrying about me and him or two of us not getting a partnership, we go out there with the intent of getting a big partnership for the team and if it doesn’t happen we have to see what we can do best,” he said.
“Opening is very important for the team to get solid runs in the first innings, which hasn’t happened but Abhinav’s just come into the team. He was looking good and if he had continued we could have had a better start, being a left-hander it would put the bowlers off,” he added.

Rahul said it is always necessary that one of the top batsmen needs to put their hand up as it has happened today.
“We all work very hard and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. But somebody has to put their hands up and the good thing is that someone has done that and continued to play with the other batsman. If I get out early, Vijay puts his hands up and takes up the responsibility and plays with Pujara and Kohli and if he gets out, I tried to do the same,” he said.