'Undoing the old habits' - data analyst reveals Ashwin's mid-IPL plan to prepare for WTC final
The rigours of long-form cricket got Ravichandran Ashwin's thinking cap on as the premier Indian spinner started working on his plans and preparations for the World Test Championship (WTC) final against Australia as early as the middle of May.
Even as curtains hadn't yet set on Rajasthan Royals' (RR) campaign in IPL 2023, Ashwin began readjusting his body clock and sleep timings on off days to ensure he is ready to physically and mentally adopt to the WTC challenge in English conditions.
It began in the infant stage by sleeping early on non-match days, revealed close friend and data analyst Prasanna Agoram, who has been working with the great tweaker for his famous YouTube channel.
Agoram also unveiled giving R Ashwin cues on conditions at The Oval and the degree of turn he can expect in the earliest summer Test at the iconic venue.
Ashwin's plan to counter Aussie challenge for WTC final
R Ashwin has been implementing those inputs into his game and fine-tuning his craft, as always, to withstand the challenge of rolling his arms against the great Steve Smith and his promising successor Marnus Labuschagne. Two match-ups that, if the off-spinner plays, can determine India's fortunes.
"The turnaround from white-ball to red-ball takes time, starting from sleep cycle to bowling. Everything is a habit if you follow it for a few days. So Ashwin started off by undoing the old habits where if Rajasthan didn’t have a game, he would be off to bed early," Prasanna, the experienced data analyst, renowned for a fruitful long stint with South Africa, told the Indian Express.
Prasanna revealed he has been ears to countless R Ashwin queries in the last few weeks while the spinner has constantly tried to get an edge ahead of the WTC bout.
"He has been asking the degree of turn at the Oval this season and in the past few years on each day, because he will get a fair indication of what to expect from the batsmen. If Australia bat first and there is not much turn, they will definitely use their feet."
"Someone like Smith will not hesitate to come down the track and flick over mid-wicket or through covers. So when you know the degree of turn is minimum, you will avoid bowling certain deliveries and set fields accordingly," said the analyst.