R. Ashwin : People don't like me for my outspoken nature

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R. Ashwin : People don't like me for my outspoken nature

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SportsCafe Desk


R Ashwin has claimed that his need for speaking his mind on matters that are close to his heart result in people disliking him. The TN offie, who had a phenomenal home Test season picking up 82 wickets in 13 Test matches, has always had a say on issues no matter how controversial the topic at hand.

Ashwin was the guest editor at the TOI office and spoke on a number of issues that he feels are important. His home state of Tamil Nadu has been under the spotlight in recent times with issues such as Jallikattu causing some disturbance in the state and the spinner said that he had been criticized for voicing his opinion.

"I do take a stand and there are many people who don't like me because I take a stand. People often politicize the right intent that I have. At least a thousand people have told me not to comment on things, not to get perturbed, Everybody wants the other to be mum and that has become a way of life for us. I don't know if I will be able to move forward as a nation if it goes on like this. I can't urge the others to do it but at least I can do what my conscience tells me is right," Ashwin told TOI.

"A lot has been happening in my state. I felt it was important that somebody take the bull by the horns. I feel my state should not be turned into a laughing stock."

"We don't have freedom of speech, it is curbed. The moment I say something political, there will be stones pelted at my house; my family and I also have to live. We are always worried about mobs. I have lived peacefully in the heart of Chennai all my life and I want to continue doing so. I don't want to have to flee the country that I love and that has given me so much."

The 30-year old also revealed his softer side by saying that he has often played with the children who line up outside his house in Chennai, through a story, saying, "There was a kid with thick glasses, who'd be outside my home at 2 pm in the Chennai heat. When he took catches, the ball would bounce off his hands and hit him on the chest. One day, the seam cut his hand. Bleeding, he tried to retrieve the ball but struggled to pick it up. I took him to a doctor and was told he has spatial dyslexia. Since then, anybody with spatial dyslexia who enrolls in my cricket academy gets free coaching”.

Ashwin, who’s the fastest bowler to get to 250 wickets got nostalgic looking at some cut outs of Mahatma Gandhi that were on display at the TOI office. "Seeing the old pages made me feel very nostalgic about my childhood when I would religiously read newspapers every day. Even today, when I'm home, I love the feeling of physically turning the pages of the paper over a nice cup of coffee."

Criticizing the current trend in media where some important news stories take the backseat to the sensational ones, Ashwin said that it was important for the media to find the right balance between the two. The off-spinner said, "I'm a bit of entrepreneur myself, so I understand there's a business imperative, but I do wish papers would pay more attention to social causes even if everyone doesn't want to read them."    

And though Ashwin doesn’t have a taste for politics, Tarun Vijay's comments, certainly caught his attention. "We constantly complain about the racism abroad, but as people, we can be very racist too, particularly about our neighbors."

He ended on a light note by saying sharing his opinion on the Indian team’s obsession with beards saying, "I can speak only for myself. I'm already very dark and I don't want to get any darker."

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