"Made Him My Obsession": Ravichandran Ashwin Explains How He Deciphered Steve Smith's Technique
India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin revealed how he prepares to bowl against batters like Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne.
- Ashwin revealed how he prepares to bowl vs Steve Smith, Labuschagne
- Ashwin talked about his "obsession" for 6 months to get Smith's batting
- He cited how he had to keep tabs on every session that Marnus played in
Team India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin revealed in details his execution of certain plans prepared for batters like Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne. Ashwin, who bowled superbly during India's recent series win against New Zealand at home, explained that the complicated techniques of both batters needed time to be deciphered before he could get the better of them. While explaining the thought process behind Smith's batting, Ashwin talked about his "obsession" of nearly six months that helped him get through the batter's psyche and script his downfall.
Speaking in an interview to ESPNCricinfo, Ashwin said, "I made him (Steve Smith) my obsession for about six months, not just two weeks or three weeks. Just footage, just watching different matches."
Ashwin also spoke about the research that went into the understanding of a batter gathering runs in different parts of the field. He cited how he had to keep tabs on every session that Labuschagne played in and the bowlers who bowled at him and the tactics that were used.
"The most recent series they played (before India toured Australia in 2020-21) was New Zealand. I went through every single day's play. I would go on to my app and check - how many runs was (Marnus) Labuschagne batting on when Will Somerville came on to bowl? Which ball did he hit over the cow corner?," he added.
Going further into analysing Smith's batting, he termed the Australian's style of play as "momentum-driven" with specific focus on his hand-movement patterns. According to the spinner, having different speeds, run-ups and variations helped while bowling at Smith over the course of a series.
"... with Steve Smith, his batting is very momentum-driven. Most of his batting comes from his hands, so my whole idea was to disturb his hands through the series. He's got certain hand-movement patterns. You have to pick them and be able to bowl in a way that disturbs his hand pattern. So, I bowled with different load-ups, different speeds, different run-ups and all that. I realized I kind of got to him," Ashwin explained.