R Ashwin’s outing with Surrey turned out to be unimpressive as the premier Indian spinner could bag just one wicket in 43 overs he bowled against Somerset in a County Championship match.
The 34-year-old, who is one among only three Indian spinners to take over 400 Test wickets, will be key to India’s fortunes in the five-Test series against England beginning August 4.
Ashwin had opened the bowling and got the wicket of Tom Lammonby in the 40th over of the match, beating his defences and rattling his stumps.
Knowing Ashwin’s penchant for experimentation, he may have tried opening the bowling with a view of having a shot at the England openers in the Test series. The English top-order had struggled against him and left-arm spinner Axar Patel on spin-friendly pitches during the Test tour of India in February-March.
Ashwin had ended with the Player-of-the-Series award, having scalped 32 wickets and scored valuable runs. In the World Test Championship final against New Zealand last month, he picked four wickets for 45 runs as India lost the Test.
Ahead of the ongoing county game, the wily spinner had expressed happiness at getting an opportunity.
“I am so privileged to be having the badge on. I have heard and wondered what the London counties are all about. Even though it’s only for a game, I am delighted to share this dressing room,” Ashwin had said in a video shared by Surrey county team.
But it is unlikely that the performance on Sunday and Monday will give him any confidence.
The Indian team, who are on a three-week break, will undergo a camp from July 15 at Durham.
They have been struggling to get a warm-up match against a county team.
Ashwin has, however, been lucky to get some match practice with Surrey unlike others amongst who only Hanuma Vihari has had a county stint ahead of the WTC final. But that was quite a while back when others were busy playing the suspended Indian Premier League.