Hyderabad: Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin feels that MS Dhoni's magnificent batting form reflected on his captaincy which helped India produce a clinical performance in the first Test against Australia.
"I think he pointed it out himself after the match that he isn't sure whether he would be able to replicate the performance again. I mean he scored two hundreds in almost two sessions which was extraordinary," Ashwin told reporters ahead of the second Test match starting here on Saturday.
"In fact, he (Dhoni) set the tempo as a captain and his performance reflected on his field settings and bowling changes. We didn't look back after that. If someone plays an innings like that, it can be demoralising for any opposition," he said. Ashwin also played a major part in the first Test with his 12-wicket haul and the confidence with which he is known to answer queries from the media was back in his voice.
Asked about the competition between the spinners with obvious reference being veteran Indian offspinner Harbhajan Singh, he gave a terse reply. "Competition always existed; it still exists and will continue to exist. I don't even think about it. And it's you people (pointing at the scribes) who are delegated to make comparisons, so why do I need to bother," he said matter-of-factly. A reply in the similar vein came when asked about whether the English spin duo of Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar were better in comparison to Nathan Lyon and Co.
"I am not good enough to make comparisons. It's for you guys to judge whether Monty and Swann were better than the Australians. You guys are better suited to say whether Indian team had a good time against Australia". Reminded about how England made a comeback from being 0-1 down, Ashwin gave another curt reply.
"We haven't spoken about it. The idea is to remain positive. About the England series, they batted well in the second innings in Ahmedabad and the momentum shifted from there on," he said.
The leader of the spin attack went into the defensive when asked about the possible bowling combination for the second Test. "I don't know what they (team management) are going to do. We normally have a meeting in the evening before the match and there it is decided."
Ashwin's best bowling figures of 12 for 85 came at this ground against New Zealand last year but he didn't want to read too much into that performance. "It's a different game and we have a different opposition. My idea will be to remain positive." By his own admission, Ashwin is not a very good reader of the pitches but he reckoned that the 22-yard strip at the Uppal Stadium will be a "good one for the first two days". "I am not a very good in reading pitches. But the soil looks different from Chennai and it will be a good wicket for the first two days," he said.
Do you think MS Dhoni will be able replicate his double-century knock again?