Ashwin-Ojha alliance spells success for Team India
Both are 26 years of age. They have nothing in common when it comes to their bowling styles, one being an off-spinner and the other a left arm leg-spinner. However, both bowling in tandem have, in the last year, fetched Team India rich dividends.
Meet Pragyan Ojha and R Ashwin, India's new spin twins. While Ojha has snared 75 wickets in just 16 matches, Ashwin has 49 to his credit in half the number of matches (as Ojha's).
What's more, the duo have strung in impressive figures over the last year. So much so that many have labelled them as apt replacements in the Anil Kumble mould.
Since joining forces, ahead of the West Indies tour of India, the duo has snared a whopping 73 wickets in just five Tests, a feat hitherto unachieved by an Indian spin pair.
Such is their impact that Harbhajan Singh, dropped from the team after a poor show in England, will be considered lucky to find a place in the playing eleven.
Image: Pragyan Ojha
Photographs: Pal Pillai/Getty Images
'Ashwin will always be a more aggressive bowler'
As Team India prepares to spin a web around England in the four-match Test series, starting Thursday in Motera, Ahmedabad, it will look to this pair to take advantage of the tourists' frailties with the turning ball.
That explains why neither was part of the squad for any of the three warm-up games against England. India's captain M S Dhoni puts the camaraderie between the two bowlers down to understanding.
"Ojha and Ashwin's striking features. They understand each other really well, something that's very important," he explained, adding, "Ojha is someone who can keep it tight at one end; Ashwin will always be a more aggressive bowler, someone who has got plenty of variations and loves to use those."
Image: R Ashwin
Photographs: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images
'Both of them are able to get wickets for us'
"One of the important roles of Ojha is to keep it tight, while Ashwin can attack from the other end.
"We have also seen in some innings where Ojha has got the breakthrough for us, Ashwin does a bit of containing job.
"Both of them are able to get wickets for us. The best part is if there is something for them they make sure they come into the game."
While the England think-tank has a lot to think about in the upcoming series and methods to tackle the home spinners, for India, it's nothing to worry about.
Ashwin and Ojha have previously done the trick on a lot of occasions, and going by current form, they should have it easy against a struggling English batting line-up.
Photographs: Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters