India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin said he is hoping the break caused by the coronavirus pandemic doesn’t lead to more white-ball leagues than international cricket.

The fastest Indian to 350 Test wickets, Ashwin said on Saturday he expects another “purple patch” for him in the traditional format, provided his body holds up.

“I really do hope that this (pandemic) does not transpire into something where you have more leagues and not much of international cricket because the borders are closed,” Ashwin said during a videocast with former India cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar on ESPNcricinfo.

With the pandemic yet to subside, Ashwin doesn’t see cricket resuming anytime soon.

“I think we are still some distance away. In terms of the health of world cricket I think it is going to take longer than what people might assume. So, that’s an imminent possibility, but I don’t know what the future has in store,” he said.

“If my body is in great shape, I think I am looking at another purple patch in Test cricket. I believe I am a hardened professional in T20 cricket, and good at what I do. Wherever I play I will be able to deliver, with the experience that I have got and the courage that I have.”

Ashwin said the ICC’s plans to trim Test cricket by a day doesn’t excite him. “The thought of four-day cricket doesn’t really excite me. I am a spinner and if you take a day out, I don’t know if it’s going to be healthy, you are taking out a very fascinating aspect of the game,” he said.

Asked about Indian cricket, he said, “The current state of Indian cricket is as healthy as it can be. Hope we can pick it up from where we had left.”

Ashwin also spoke about his love for operating with the new ball and explained the mechanics involved with that skill.

“I like a new ball because of the fizz that I get on it. One of my strengths is to be able to put revs on the hard ball as it responds better to the pitch. But I generally like to use the arm ball in the first two or three overs because when you use the arm ball, it challenges both the edges of the batsman and forces him to go across the line which is risky.”

The 33-year-old who has often been seen with the new ball across formats, added: “The others that I use are the floaters that swing, the one that pitches in and goes out or the other one that lands on the seam and gets to go the other way. So these balls become very effective.

“With a new ball I use my middle finger more than the index finger but when I bowl with an older ball, I try and get over the top. Sometimes, I don’t use the index finger to go over the top, it is behind and I still put the revs and that’s when the ball actually goes the other way.”

Ashwin shared his views on the need to be versatile in the T20 format, where the bowlers have little margin for error, and the importance of wrist spinners.

“In T20 cricket, you need to call yourself a bowler. At times you should be able to bowl a bouncer or a spinner. Wrist spin is successful not because it is challenging both edges of the bat but because of its unpredictable nature when bowling length. And this makes wrist spin extremely relevant,” he said.

(With inputs from PTI)