A BATTING WITH BIMAL BREAKING REPORT: England laugh off Ravichandran Ashwin new mystery ball claims

Ashwin is still yet to produce any real evidence that he has developed a new mystery ball

Before the start of the Test series against England, India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin claimed to have developed a new mystery ball that would completely bamboozle all of the batsmen on the opposing team.

But, two Tests in and with the series level at 1-1, there has been no indication of any new type of mystery ball from Ashwin and many cricket pundits and former players believe that it was smart of England to laugh it off before the start of the series and now as well.

England have been suckered by mystery ball claims in the past, especially when playing against Australia leg-spin legend Shane Warne and more recently, against Pakistan’s Saeed Ajmal in January this year.

However, just like Ashwin, there was no hard evidence to support Warne and Ajmal’s claims.

On the eve of the first Test at Ahmedabad, Ashwin told the Times of India that he had worked profusely on developing a new mystery ball that would leave the England batsmen scratching their heads throughout the series.

“I have been working on this ball for some time now,” Ashwin said. “I might use it in this series.”

England assistant coach Richard Halsall was one of the first to laugh off Ashwin’s claims and noted that he knew India would try to unsettle the national team with these types of claims since it has seemed to work in the past.

“I was very fortunate to spend a few years with Mushtaq Ahmed at Sussex,” Hallsall said. “And Mushy would have a ‘mystery ball’ every week. He’d show it to the opposition in the nets and, as we would wander off he would say ‘that’s just my leg-break’. If Ashwin has got a mystery ball, that’s fantastic for him. It may move cricket on. But I’m sure our batsmen will watch him carefully and deal with each ball as it comes.”

Even though England may laugh off Ashwin’s claims, there is no denying that they have struggled against spinners throughout the year.

Whether it be against Pakistan, Sri Lanka or even the West Indies, England have always looked vulnerable against spin bowling, which has been the key reason for their downfall and the loss of their world number one Test team title.

Halsall was also quick to criticise the Indians for not exposing more of their spin bowlers during England’s warm up matches, calling it “quite odd” and extremely “frustrating”.

Before the start of the Test series, Halsall said: “We’ve managed to get enough high-pressure, quality practice into the batsmen off the field so that they feel ready for the first Test, it’s not a concern, but it has been quite odd that we haven’t faced the spin out in the middle, especially when there have been spinners playing. But we’ve been fortunate to have some exceptional net bowlers. Over here, you do get some exceptional players not in the games.”

He also noted that pace duo Steven Finn and Stuart Broad were both looking in great form ahead of the third Test at Kolkata.

“Steven and Stuart both looked fairly hostile,” Halsall said. “They both bowled very well. It’s fantastic to see where Steven is. We didn’t think he’d be at this stage so soon. That’s great, and Stuart is coming along exactly as we thought he would.

“We’ll monitor them over the next two days. Then we’ll know a little bit more. But we’re happy with where they are at the moment.”

Leave a Reply