‘If Pietersen is ready to play switch-hit, I will take him on’
In the last two Test series at home, against West Indies and New Zealand, off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin won the Man of the Series award and grew in stature as the strike spinner. Ahead of the four-match Test series against England, starting at Ahmedabad on Thursday, Ashwin tells The Indian Express about why he shares a good rapport with Pragyan Ojha and why he wants Kevin Pietersen to use the switch-hit against him. Excerpts.
You have been the lead spinner for just about a year now but after delivering results do you now feel the pressure of expectation?
So far nobody has put any burden of expectation on me, so I don't know. For me, it is all about self-expectation and self-motivation and playing against England gives me enough motivation. In the England series at home we will be up against quality batsmen and it will be a new challenge. I am hoping to win this battle.
Are you enjoying the role as main spinner in the Test team?
I have not looked at my role in that manner. Ojha is senior to me going by the number of Test matches he has played and he has done exceedingly well and should be given equal credit. Zaheer Khan is the lead bowler when it comes to our attack.
When playing at home are you more in control of your game?
It is not about control really. At home the wicket is going to be much slower and a spinner comes into play. When we go abroad teams don't give us flat or dry wickets. A sporting wicket can also be one on which spinners have a role to play on the fourth and fifth day.
Teams like Australia and England know that they played to their strength when it came to pitches when we toured there and they are aware that we will now play to our strength. But if you recall, spinners from Australia and England have done well on pitches in India on the fourth and fifth day.
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