Rising Pune Supergiants have had an indifferent debut in the IPL but they can be proud of the way their spinners Ravi and Murugan Ashwin have fared so far in the ninth edition of the tournament.
While the senior spinner – Ravi – has taken only two wickets so far in six matches, his economy rate in the 18 overs bowled has been a superb 6.5. And while Murugan has been more expensive at 7.89 an over, in six matches he has picked up seven wickets.
What adds to the aura of Ashwins’ partnership is that while Ravi is an off-spinner and Murugan a leggie, there is a similarity in their action and both rely on subtle variations. What’s more, they play for the same state – Chennai – and even attended the same college – SSN College in Chennai. No wonder they try to pick each other’s brains and look to improve their craft.
“I keep observing Murugan, the way he loads the ball and I try and ask him a few questions,” Ravi was quoted as saying by iplt20.com of his younger partner.
“Obviously, we try and exchange notes but I don’t think he has asked me how to bowl off-spin yet (laughs). He has got a good googly so I don’t think the necessity arises to ask me. I keep observing him and I want to learn from him.”
Ravi believes the similarity in their actions allows him to try and replicate Murugan while attempting variations.
“I have gone out bowling my legspin a lot and I thought I should be using it in this IPL. I don’t know when but maybe the time will come when I will use it. I have a pretty high-arm action. He has got a pretty straight arm action for a leg-spinner as well. There could be something similar on those lines so I am trying to catch up on what he is doing,” the 29-year-old Ravi said.
For Murugan, the knowledge that Ravi has of international cricket is helping him in planning for specific conditions and situations.
“He is a very experienced bowler and I have learnt a lot from him. He has given me certain ideas on how to bowl on certain wickets and what not to do. These are little things that he gives me and keeps telling me when we are bowling together,” Murugan added.
Murugan’s has been a spectacular rise. Until last year, he was a net bowler with Chennai Super Kings and it was those sessions with international players that helped him gauge his abilities and also get noticed.
“I was a net bowler last year for the Chennai Super Kings and that stint was a great experience for me. I got to bowl to international players and got a hang of how batsmen play the game at the big stage,” he said.
For Ravi, it was clear that Murugan has a long career ahead of him.
“He looked like someone who got good revs on the ball. He spins the ball a mile both inwards and outwards. That is a trait that is inborn and you have to look for such traits.
“I always thought he was a good bowler; just that he needs to keep ironing out a lot of issues like any other spinner will have to do. At the Chennai Super Kings nets, he bowled to all the batsmen and all of them really struggled against him. They couldn’t pick his googly and couldn’t hit him out for a single six,” Ravi said.
In the meantime, Murugan is happy to have Ravi by his side as he looks to gain a foothold in the IPL.
“Since we are from the same state and speak the same language, we discuss a lot of Tamil movies and jokes. That is something that we both discuss over breakfast,” he said.
But he believes the away side deserved credit for their opening partnership between legendary Brendon McCullum and Dwayne Smith, who both hit half-centuries.
While Chris Morris, who scored 82 not out, on another day could have guided the Daredevils home in Delhi.
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Batting first, the Lions made 172-6 – with Dwayne Smith also weighing in with a sizeable 53 in Delhi.
In reply, the Daredevils did not go down without a fight as Chris Morris walloped 82 not out from 32 balls, the third fastest IPL fifty in history, but the Lions kept it tight in the final two overs, conceding just 16 runs to pull-off a memorable one-run win.
They eventually finished on 171-5.
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