‘I’m sure Ashwin is going to get me out again but…’: England star to India great | Cricket

A vastly improved Test player than what he was when he first burst onto the scene in 2016, England’s Ben Duckett has no qualms in admitting that India’s off-spinning all-rounder Ravichandran Ashwin will most certainly get him out a few times in the upcoming Test series but this time he won’t die wondering. “I’ve obviously just played against, in my eyes, the best seam attack in the world this summer. I think the preparation in Abu Dhabi will be focused around facing the new ball spin. It’s going to be interesting, I don’t think I’ll get out blocking as many times as I did when I was last there,” Duckett told Sky Sports.

Ben Duckett of England(AP)

This will be Duckett’s second India tour. The last time he came here in 2016, he was a middle-order batter new to international cricket. In his first trial by spin, he was outclassed by Ashwin. The India off-spinner, who is currently the No.1-ranked Test bowler, got him out three times in the first two Tests. Duckett scored only 18 runs in his three innings while batting at No.4 and was dropped after the second Test.

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“I’ve played a lot of cricket since then and maturity is a big one for me in those years,” Duckett said.

A lot has indeed changed since then. Ever since Ben Stokes took over as the captain in the latter half of 2021, England have adopted a new brand of cricket in this format known as Bazball, coined after head coach Brendon McCullum’s nickname. And Duckett has been an important part of that at the top of the order.

On his comeback Test and that too as an opener in 2022, Duckett smashed a century against Pakistan in Rawalpindi and since then he hasn’t looked back. One of the notable changes in his batting has been the way he has attacked the new ball.

“The biggest thing this time around is that whatever India throw at me, it’s not going to be a shock. I’ve played on those kinds of pitches. I know full well what to expect when I get out there,” he said.

Duckett, however, is well aware of the challenges India’s spin attack led by Ashwin may throw at him. Terming as the best off-spinner he has faced in his career, the left-hander said he would back himself. “I wasn’t the last left-hander to struggle out there in those conditions against Ashwin. He’s so good everywhere. He’s the best off-spinner I have come across.

‘Ashwin is a world-class bowler but I won’t die wondering’: Duckett

“I’m sure he’s going to get me out again, he’s a world-class bowler. But I would back myself now on a good pitch or a flatter pitch to not feel like I have to play aggressive shots or sweep every ball.

“If those pitches are spinning, and with the way this team have played over the last 18 months, I know what my strengths are and I’m certainly not going to die wondering.”

The 29-year-old cricketer also heaped praise on India’s pace attack. Mohammed Shami will miss the first two Tests of the series but India still have Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj in their ranks.

“People talk about how good India’s spin bowling is but at the top of the order against the seam attack it’s going to be tough no matter how flat the pitches are,” Duckett added.

The England players are currently in Abu Dhabi, preparing for the five-match Test series against India that starts in Hyderabad on January 25.

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