India spinner, Ravichandran Ashwin, has thanked coach Anil Kumble and captain Virat Kohli for showing faith in his batting and sending him in at number six.
Ashwin hit his third Test century after being promoted above wicketkeeper, Wriddhiman Saha.
The tweaker shared a 168 run stand with Kohli, and expressed his long held ambition to bat in the top seven for India, after play on day two: “I’ve always wanted to bat in the top seven for the Indian team, which is a long-time goal that I have to try to strive to get better at,
“I need to thank (Anil) Kumble and Virat for having the confidence in me to be pushed at number six. There have been times in the past when I’ve played really well and haven’t really got the promotion. This really says a whole lot of things about me.
“Kohli called me in the morning and said ‘you’ll be batting at six, ahead of Saha’, which is a big boost to my batting confidence. I had worked on it over the past one month in Chennai with my coach and I’m very happy with the way it’s come out.”
The Chennai man gave credit to batting coach, Sanjay Bangar, for helping him improve his game, saying: “First things first, (Sanjay) Bangar worked really closely with my stance for the last 12 months.
“It has been a challenge. I used to be extra side-on and I had to open myself a little bit. That change is very effective. I’ve not driven straight down the ground for a very long time. That is a pretty evident one.
“The other things like my initial movement had to be sorted. It was a process for like 10-12 months, and on the way I did lose a few innings as a batsman as well. I’ve never left so many balls. (Ajinkya) Rahane told before the Test match about batting 200 balls, my aim was to bat 150 balls and try and see where I get.”
All three of Ashwin’s centuries have come against the West Indies, Ashwin explained why he has done so well against the men from the Caribbean: “That’s because I’ve got more time to bat against them. Whenever I’ve gone in, I’ve had a batsman to play with.
“All the times I made a hundred. Once, I had Rohit, and then I had Virat and again Virat now. That’s an important factor for a batsman lower down to get a hundred.
“And obviously, this game I batted at six so that gave me ample time to try and play it out. Yes, I have got runs against West Indies, and if you start getting a liking towards a team, you have that inside factor, which tells you that you can do it again.”
India earned a breakthrough late yesterday leraving the West Indies 31 for 1, but Ashwin feels they will have to bowl well to take the game away from the West Indies: “I think it’s a good batting wicket and you’ll have to earn every wicket.
“You’ll have to prise them out. Kraigg Brathwaite and the likes of Darren Bravo…they bat pretty deep as well. We’ll have to prise each and every wicket and see if we can actually go the distance and maintain the intensity for every hour.”