Ravichandran Ashwin, the Indian off-spinner, opened up on Virat Kohli’s approach as a captain and revealed how his plan to dismiss David Warner in the 2017 Bengaluru Test v Australia worked perfectly with his skipper’s help.
“Streaks of brilliance with a little bit of craziness,” Ashwin said to describe Kohli’s captaincy while in conversation with Harsha Bhogle on Cricbuzz. The Tamil Nadu bowler then went on to highlight how his ploy to dismiss Warner in the second Test of Australia’s tour of India in 2017 was approved by Kohli, and it worked out to perfection.
India were dismissed for a paltry 189 on the first day of the Test, with Nathan Lyon emerging as the home side’s tormentor-in-chief, returning figures of 8-50. Subsequently, Warner and Matt Renshaw added 40 runs together to finish the day strongly for Australia.
“How David Warner got out in the first innings in Bangalore, where he got bowled – I moved over the stumps and started hitting the rough and he got bowled,” Ashwin said. “I remember that game. I was in deep sense of thought as we had lost the first game and I couldn’t fathom the fact that Australia can beat us on our home soil. I was in a deep state of therapy, thinking how am I going to get my team out of this.
“Virat was playing PlayStation with Saha and I went to his room and said, ‘Virat, I think what’s happening is Nathan Lyon got wickets in the first innings and the wicket was damp so somehow there is this sense of people coming in and saying that Lyon got wickets and hence Ash should get wickets and we’ll roll them over.
“‘But I want to be in my own cocoon, where I can take this game forward the way I want. I think I want to go over the wicket to David Warner even if it sounds defensive. We need to put this game on pause mode, literally pause this game without Australia wresting the initiative. And I think both Warner and Renshaw have practised a lot of balls for off-spinners coming from round the stumps. So I want to change this game.’
“He listened to my idea for a minute, started playing the game and said, ‘Do what you want, I have complete belief in you.’ And the next day I started bowling over the stumps.”
As it turned out, Ashwin would dismiss Warner in his third over of the second day as India went on to register a 75-run win. Kohli’s side ultimately won the four-Test series 2-1.