Bengaluru: As India lost the fourth Test against England on Sunday, one of the major talking points was the team’s premier spinner Ravichandran Ashwin’s failure to shine on a pitch which suited his style of bowling.

Off-spinner Ashwin, who took the new ball in the second innings to exploit the rough patches on the pitch, was below-par.

Many questioned whether he was fully fit or not. He managed only one wicket in the second innings after he had two victims in the first.

England defeated India by 60 runs in Southampton as the visitors failed to chase down 245. The hosts clinched the series 3-1 with a Test still to play at The Oval in London from September 7.

When MyNation contacted India’s spin legend EAS Prasanna to ask about the factors behind Ashwin’s forgettable performance, he explained that the bowler did not make the batsmen drive.

“I think Ashwin should know how to set a field on a wicket like this. No doubt, there are few basics to be adhered to, but things could have been better organised. On this pitch, he should have made the England batsmen drive. The most basic thing on a wicket like this, you don't have to do anything. You bowl on the spot (rough patch) and let the batsmen drive the ball,” the 78-year-old told MyNation on Monday.

Also read: Cheteshwar Pujara defends Ashwin

Prasanna, who took 189 Test wickets from 49 matches and was part of the famous Indian spin quartet with BS Chandrasekhar, Bishan Singh Bedi and S Venkataraghavan, praised England off-spinner Moeen Ali.

“You should not allow the batsmen to go on the back foot. At all times, you must get the batsmen to drive. He (Ashwin) bowled 70% short of length deliveries. You saw how Moeen Ali bowled. He bowled 60% of driving length. He had the flight, he allowed the batsmen to come forward. He was not allowing the Indian batsmen to go on the back foot. Virat Kohli's wicket was on the front foot. These are the basics of spin bowling,” Prasanna said.

Moeen was the Man of the Match on his return to Test cricket. He took nine wickets in the Test and completely overshadowed Ashwin.

Stating that Ashwin had played enough Test matches to know how to bowl, Prasanna asked all spinners to keep one thing in mind — length is mandatory and line is optional.

“I need not tell all these things to Ashwin. He has played enough to know. He has played sufficient number of Test matches to realise that length is mandatory and line is optional. I believe in that principle and I have been telling the youngsters whom I have helped to stick to this. If you have these two factors (length and line) under control, you will always be among the wickets. And Ashwin did not do this (in the fourth Test),” the former India spinner said. 

On Ashwin’s bowling speeds, he remarked, “He was bowling fast and that's why he was bowling short. You cannot bowl fast and bowl length. The percentage of short balls will be more when you bowl fast.”

Prasanna said he was “sad” at India’s loss. “To be honest, there is not much difference between the two teams, except for the fact that England are far more professional than us. Both sides were in advantageous positions but we allowed that to slip,” he opined.