A turn for the worse?

Dec 27 2012, 01:33 IST
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Both Ashwin and Chawla did not play the first T20. Both Ashwin and Chawla did not play the first T20.
SummaryTrailing 1-0, India risk slipping behind further unless Ashwin and Co. step it up

It's already been a demanding couple of weeks for the Gujarat police with the election mania having ended just five days earlier in the state. There has been no respite for them, however, with Ahmedabad in particular gripped with Indo-Pak fever. While the cops here have had to contend with unruly mobs at the ticketing counters for the second T20 at Motera, they were pushed into overdrive on Wednesday afternoon outside the Sardar Vallabhai Patel airport.

The Pakistanis might have arrived in Bangalore without much fanfare over the weekend but in Ahmedabad they had to remain confined to the airport lobby for close to an hour-along with the Indian team-after landing. Awaiting them were hordes of fans hoping to catch a glimpse of the stars. To add to the confusion, the team buses hadn't arrived on time. And it was only after the local police had cleared the chaos that the two teams exited the terminal and headed towards the safety of their hotel.

Speaking of maintaining order, that is exactly what Indian captain MS Dhoni would have expected his spinners, well part-timers, to do at the Chinnaswamy Stadium after the seamers led by debutant Bhuvneshwar Kumar had rocked Pakistan early. But Yuvraj Singh and Ravindra Jadeja failed quite miserably in that quest, proving easy meat for Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik. Their failure to restrain the visitors even prompted Hafeez, the man-of-the-match in Bangalore, to express his gratitude towards the home team's decision to leave out their spin spearhead, Ravichandran Ashwin.

"It (Ashwin's non-selection) was a surprise for us. And we knew without a world-class spinner like him, we could dominate," said Hafeez following Pakistan's five-wicket win. For starters, the soft-spoken Pakistani skipper's reverence for Ashwin's skills could be considered a tad generous. Based on the Tamil Nadu off-spinner's recent form anyway. The Bangalore T20 was only the second one that Ashwin had been dropped for, since his debut in this format back in the summer of 2010. And for good reason this time.

Experiments gone wrong

If Ashwin wasn't anywhere close to his best during the Test series against England, he looked increasingly ineffective in the two T20s against the same opposition. His inability to control the urge to keep experimenting only made his poor outings look worse. Especially since his variety-balls, be it the leg-break or the carom ball, only cost him and the team more runs. Despite enjoying

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