Playing his 104th innings in his 277th Twenty20 match, Ravichandran Ashwin scored his maiden half-century in the format for Rajasthan Royals against Delhi Capitals at DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai on Wednesday. After the game, Ashwin said it was pleasing to see that the work he had done on his batting was coming good.
Before the start of Indian Premier League 2022, Ashwin had an average of 13.47 and a strike-rate of 114.22 in T20s. This season, he is averaging 22.16 for Royals with a strike-rate of 140. He had batted at No 3 only once before, but Royals have used him at No 3 thrice this season already.
“From the start of the season, it was communicated properly to me that they would be using me up the order. We had a few practice games also where I opened, and kind of enjoyed it,” Ashwin, who scored 50 off 38 balls, said during the post-match press conference.
“I have worked a lot on my batting so it is nice to see that translating onto the field. Pretty good feel about the knock, nevertheless it did not come in a winning cause.”
Ashwin went on to speak about the effort he had been putting into his batting. “You have to mentally prepare to maintain good intent. Just before the start of the season, I was in good batting rhythm. I have tried to transfer my weight forward and tweaked my technique a bit. I have brought more options to my game, changed the bat-swing a bit. All that is making a difference. That way it is very pleasing, hopefully I can keep taking it forward.”
Ashwin, never shy of trying out different things, often crouched pretty low in his stance during his innings. He charged and lofted the spinners for a couple of sixes, and also ramped Chetan Sakariya for four over the wicketkeeper. And he did it on a pitch where the ball wasn’t coming on and was holding up instead. Even as Ashwin helped set up a base for Royals, they could not come up with a big finish, though, and he felt the 160 for 6 they posted wasn’t quite enough.
“The pitch wasn’t the easiest to bat on. So there was communication around that. Obviously the communication to keep going or to just play for a few more overs and set it up keeps coming in. More often than not if you find yourself hitting the 100-run mark by the 13th over, you end up getting to 180,” Ashwin explained. “That is generally the kind of algorithm that works. And we hit the 100 mark on a quite tough pitch when we were batting first, I think just about maybe 15-20 runs short at the end.”