India's leading off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has displayed sublime form in the ICC World Twenty20. Using his deceptive carrom ball to perfection, along with his regular off-spinning delivery and other variations, he has been Mahendra Singh Dhoni's go-to man in the spin-friendly wickets in Bangladesh.
Reaching personal milestones and breaking records in the tournament so far, Ashwin has become the first Indian bowler to bag 10 wickets -- at an average of 9.50 -- in five matches for India at the World Twenty20.
Such has been his good form that Ashwin recorded his top two bowling figures in T20Is in the tournament. In the Group 2 match against Australia, Ashwin's devastating spell of 4/11 is his best in the shortest format of the game, followed by his phenomenal efforts (3/22) against South Africa in the semi-final on Friday night. Ashwin also became the first Indian spinner to bag three wickets against South Africa in the tournament. (Highlights)
Following indifferent performances on recent foreign tours of South Africa and New Zealand, Ashwin has made a strong comeback by being among the wickets in the Asia Cup as well as the ongoing World Twenty20.
The wily Tamil Nadu spinner, who has one wicket more than Amit Mishra in the tournament, is completely aware of the competition around him and is not taking his place for granted.
"To be really honest, I've never bothered about who's behind my shoulder. That's not how I play my cricket. I believe in improving every day, and I don't say it just for the sake of it," Ashwin said. ( Ashwin's taunt against Shane Warne)
"Unless you don't keep improving, you're not going to last the distance. You lose out. It's pretty much like a business model, that's how I view it. Somebody's behind my shoulder? They can stay there. I'll just keep doing what I do best," he added.
Despite a lean patch in the recent past, skipper Dhoni has stuck by him, a move that has paid rich dividends. In the post-match presentation after the semi-final victory over South Africa, Dhoni praised Ashwin's efforts and said that he held him back for AB de Villiers, proving who his main man in the bowling department is.
With 10 wickets to his tally so far, three or more scalps in the final against Sri Lanka on Sunday will make Ashwin the leading wicket-taker of the tournament and perhaps, pave the way for India's title triumph as well.
(With inputs from Rajesh Kumar)