A ball of beauty: How Ashwin used drift, flight, turn and more to fox Chapman

Courage Culture

It was a simple yet complex ball. Simple because it did what only a classical off-spinner is supposed to do. Coax the batsman with drift and flight, and fox him with turn. Complex, because there was so much more to the ball than regular flight and drift. So many little details emerge with every replay. To exaggerate the inward drift, off-spinners usually veer wider off the crease from round the stumps. But Ashwin didn’t. He was somewhat equidistant from the line and stumps, which makes it more difficult because the drift is sudden and unexpected.

Drift the ball did, deviously and deliciously, until it grazed the brown deck and broke away, much after Chapman’s hideous heave, after jaunting down the pitch. The ball seemed to curve into the batsman for an eternity, before it paused upon landing and spun away, like a drunk driver careening a U-turn. Maybe, the bestial stroke was Chapman’s futile attempt to despoil the beauty of Ashwin’s ball. Had h