Faf du Plessis singles out off-spinner R Ashwin as the main threat for South Africa

Earlier this year, R Ashwin has cut down on both the fancy and the chancy, says a report in The Indian express, adding that he now concentrates on sticking to a line and constructing spells.

By not trying to get wickets on every ball, he finishes with more scalps by the end of the day. Ashwin always had the variations, these days he knows when to use them. Talking to The Indian Express earlier in the year, he had said: “In the Tests, I had decided to develop a rhythm. I would decide that I had to bowl long spells and not just reduce my bowling to deliveries in a spell. I started to look at the big picture and the spell as a whole. In this particular over I was going to toss it up, this over probably work on changing pace…I changed my thinking from putting everything into one ball.”

The new Ashwin is making heads turn, some in awe and others in nervousness. Ahead of the Test match, listening to Faf du Plessis gives the impression that Ashwin could be the most-discussed Indian in the Proteas dressing room. “The way we play Ashwin will determine the success we have here,” du Plessis said. “He has been India’s standout spinner. We played him well (in the T20s). Now it is Tests. He will probably get more turn. He is our main threat.”

Meanwhile a report in the Pune Mirror says that South Africa are wary of slow and spinning tracks that will be on offer in the upcoming Test series against India, and Faf du Plessis on Monday singled out off-spinner R Ashwin as the main threat for the visitors.

"He is an outstanding spinner. I feel we played him well (in T20s). Now, it's a case of Test cricket, but with the conditions he will get a little more turn," du Plessis told reporters at the IS Bindra PCA stadium in Mohali after the team's practice session ahead of the first cricket Test starting Thursday.

"Ashwin is our main threat, but we will plan really well. The way we play Ashwin in this series will definitely determine the success in this series."

Meanwhile a report in The DNA says a good spinner can flourish on the turning Indian tracks, but it's noteworthy that the Proteas are only talking about Ashwin and not Mishra or Jadeja, who took a whopping 37 wickets in three Ranji games. So, what is that makes Ashwin so dangerous these days?

"He has transformed himself as a bowler," former India left-arm spinner Murali Karthik said. "Ashwin of the past and Ashwin of now is different. He has a lot of variations. But he has been bowling a lot of his stock ball, which is off spin. How much ever you use your variations, it is your stock ball that often gets batsmen out. It is your strength," he added.

Karthik felt that the transformed Ashwin is turning the ball well. "He is getting the turn, which is important for an off-spinner. He is also keeping that attacking line of outside the off stump. On top of that, he is getting his length right. Getting variations on that length and change of pace has been quite effective for him," he said.