R Ashwin believes sustaining spot in Indian team harder than entering it

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R Ashwin believes sustaining spot in Indian team harder than entering it

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SportsCafe Desk

07/24/2017

Ravichandran Ashwin has claimed that maintaining a spot in the Indian team in the current scenario is difficult because of the excellent talent available on the fringes. The 30-year old also stated that he is a far better cricketer than he was when India last visited Sri Lanka in 2015.

The Indian team has been bolstered by talented players who have cemented their place in the team due to their exceptional performance in Indian colours. A recent example of that was seen in young Kuldeep Yadav who performed exceptionally well against West Indies in the recently concluded ODI series and became a strong contender for the playing XI in the white ball format. Ashwin had to fight for his place in the team in the Champions Trophy as well when Indian skipper Virat Kohli opted to play with three fast bowlers in the first two games. Ashwin said that it is indeed difficult maintaining a spot in the side owing to various factors.

"I would say yes, because the amount of pressure that you're put in, not only from within the team but also from outside, the external factors," Ashwin told Cricbuzz when questioned about whether sustaining a position in the team was hard or making it to the team was.

"You have to understand that this is an excellent Indian team. In the past, the people with... I mean if you look at the teams around the world, they do get an extended run. Youngsters do get to okay a few more games than they get to play in India. That's because of the kind of team we've put on the park.

"We do have some excellent cricketers sitting outside as well. It is a lot of pressure but sustaining or holding on to a position is not something that will go well with an excellent side, a side that has striving for excellence needs to have excellent cricketers looking to get well past their previous best. That's how I'd like to put it, and this Indian team is quite an excellent side, we all know that."

Ashwin's last visit to Galle where India will play their first Test against Sri Lanka starting July 26 had done wonders for the 30-year old's career as he went on to take 10 wickets in the match. After being dropped from the playing XI during the Adelaide Test on the tour of Australia, Ashwin proved his worth returning to take 151 wickets in 24 matches as opposed to his 98 wickets from the previous 25. The Tamil Nadu spinner admitted that he has become a far better cricketer than what he was in 2015.

"For starters, I'm a lot more calmer from what I was then. I think I was a little bit more like a cat on a hot tin roof so to say. I was looking forward to performing desperately because sometimes, like I have said, my performances need to be that much more better for me to get anywhere in my career, so I've always lived that way and it's kind of changed me over a period of time," he added.

"I do take things in the stride - fairly bad days, ordinary days and mediocre days are a part of a cricketer's career. As I told you, it's important to learn from that and try and get better. I think I've become a far better cricketer than what I was when I came here in 2015. I just hope that if at all I come back again, I would be a far better cricketer than what I am today."

Ashwin will play his 50th Test against Sri Lanka at Galle a feat only 29 Indians have achieved till date and with 275 wickets to his name, he is just 25 short of the historic 300-wicket mark. Ashwin couldn't have wished for a better place to reach his 50th-match milestone than Galle which was a major turning point in his career.

"To come back to a place where I did really well last time in 2015 is like a dream come true because it was some sort of a momentous occasion for me then because I was on the way back into the Test side and I got a six-for on the first day and went on to get a 10-for on the third day. It brings back a lot of good memories, coming back to the same venue. And 50th Test is definitely something that has come about. I am not able to go back and retrace how I did it but I am very grateful to have gotten here. I think every Test match a blessing from here on," Ashwin remembered.

"Looking behind, I might have set some targets but I won't be setting any targets looking ahead. That's what the past has taught me. You can't get ahead of yourself, you can't set milestones, you can't set records for yourself in the future. The most important thing is to try and get better every single day because international cricket is very cruel and it can really sort you out if you are sitting back on your past laurels. It's very important to put it behind. Yes, you can have a cup of coffee and think about it and reminisce it really well but it is very important to take one Test match and one day at a time."

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