R Ashwin India Murali Vijay
R Ashwin knows he needs to keep things simple to remain successful in the Test formatIANS

One of the more frustrating things about India in recent times, something that hasn't quite changed even with a change of guard, is their struggles to knock the tail over quickly. The India bowlers might put a team at a precarious 117/6, only to lose all the momentum by allowing the lower order to put on a few partnerships and with it pile on valuable runs.

Legspinners and express pace bowlers are usually seen as the best weapons to knock out the tail-enders quickly, but India's main man with the red cherry – R Ashwin – is determined to be the lead act in that particular challenge as well.

"I have been working on to try and knock the tail off a little faster," Ashwin told BCCI's official website. "I want to try and polish them off a little bit soon. I have been working on it but the demands are so high that you will have to give enough time and space to your main skills, which is your off-spin bowling and batting.

"As far as I am concerned, I have worked really hard on both these skills. I have been working really hard on my fitness as well. These are the boxes I am looking to tick and it does take a toll. When you do these things day in and day out; it takes a toll on your body and mind. So trying to do something new again and again in this format is not so very advisable."

What is advisable, though, is for Ashwin to stay on the same path he has been for the past 12 months – beautiful, offspin bowling, backed by variations when required. As long as Ashwin keeps doing that, the New Zealand batsmen will find it difficult to score big runs in this Test series.

"The limited overs format demands some experimentation but not so much in Test cricket," Ashwin, who used to bring that experimentation into play a little too much, added.

"As far as Test cricket goes, being boring and being repetitive is very important. Staying disciplined over a long spell of bowling is very important. That is something that I have come to peace with regards to my own skill and game.

"I have understood Test cricket a lot better than what I used to probably from two-three years ago."

The offspinner, who has 193 wickets in just 36 Test matches, was instrumental in India's success over the West Indies recently – he picked up 17 wickets in four Test matches, quite a bit of which was rained off -- while being the wrecker-in-chief when the team tasted Test match success over Sri Lanka and South Africa last year. If Ashwin stays in form, India will undoubtedly be on top of this Test series against New Zealand, and with Ravindra Jadeja and Amit Mishra to back the offspinner as well, the trio does look primed to spin a web around the New Zealand batsmen.

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