Bangalore, Jan 12: Harbhajan Singh was India's No. 1 offspinner in all formats of the game. But in recent times, that position has been taken by R Ashwin. However, the tall Tamil Nadu slow bowler's One Day International form is a cause for concern for Team India.
Ashwin won his battle with Harbhajan and pushed the veteran offie out of the teams across all three forms. Ashwin formed a potent combination with left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha in the Test arena. But now, he seems to be struggling in 50-over cricket.
In his last 10 ODIs, Ashwin has managed only 9 wickets. Since March 18, 2012 to date, he has played 10 matches and bowled 93 overs. He has four maidens and conceded 444 runs for 9 victims.
From these 10 games his strike rate is 62 compared to his career's 40.2. Also his average has shot up to 49.33 as against his overall 32.18 in 44 games. So his recent form slump is a big worry. So far, Ashwin has featured in 44 ODIs. In his first 24 games, he had bagged 38 wickets but in the next 20, he has 21.
The 26-year-old has been good in the five-day game but a look at the statistics in his last 20 ODIs also indicate that he has not been at his best. The same was on view on Friday night in Rajkot against England.
Agreed, Rajkot pitch was not the best one for bowling. But England offspinner James Tredwell completely overshadowed Ashwin with a fine spell of 4/44 in 10 overs. What different did the 30-year-old Englisman do compared to the Indian?
Ashwin went wicketless in 9 overs and also was expensive giving away 61 runs. In the three-match series against Pakistan, he took three wickets in 30 overs for 130 runs.
Ashwin needs to rediscover his form if India have to bounce back in the ongoing five-ODI series. With Amit Mishra in the squad, there could be pressure mounting on Ashwin to perform well in the remaining games.
It is India's bowling that is worrying in recent times. It is now upto India's No. 1 spinner to lead the way or else Ashwin could be left to warm the benches.