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Contemplated retirement at various points between 2018 and 2020, reveals Ravichandran Ashwin

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Ravichandran Ashwin recently became the third highest wicket taker for India in Tests

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Contemplated retirement at various points between 2018 and 2020, reveals Ravichandran Ashwin

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SportsCafe Desk

12/21/2021

Ravichandran Ashwin has revealed that he considered retiring from the sport at various points between 2018 and 2020, which was a difficult period in his career. Ashwin cited the prolonged injuries and lack of support as the reasons behind pondering upon quitting his international career.

Ravichandran Ashwin has been one of the best red-ball spinners for India over the years at home and away. He has scalped 427 Test wickets from 81 Test matches till date, and is currently the third highest wicket-taker for India in Test cricket. He has also been a key lower-order batsman in the format, having scored 2,775 runs at 27.55 with five hundreds to his name.

The off-spinner has had a glittering white-ball career too, with 150 wickets in 111 ODIs, 61 wickets in 51 T20Iss and145 wickets in 167 IPL games. However, there have been times when the off-spinner experienced lows during his career, largely due to the recurrung injuries, as he revealed in a recent interview. The 35-year-old marked the 2018-2020 aas a difficult phase in his career, which forced him into contemplating retirment.

"Between 2018 and 2020, I contemplated giving up the sport at various points. I thought, 'I have put in a lot of effort, but it is not coming through'. The harder I tried, the farther it felt. Especially with athletic pubalgia and the patellar tendonitis - I used to bowl six balls and then I used to be gasping for breath. And there would be pain all over the place,” Ashwin told ESPNcricinfo.

He also spoke of the time when he used to bowl six balls and then gasp for breath, and needed to make adjustments to continue with the game. 

"So you needed to make adjustments. When the knee pain got excruciating, the next ball I would probably jump less," he further explained. "When I jumped less, obviously the force needs to be produced through the core and the back and the shoulders, so the pubalgia would act up. So the third ball I would be extra side-on to try to use the hips. By the time I was done with six balls, I would be like, I need a break here."

Ashwin pointed out that he felt a lack of support at certain junctures and that it was one of the reasons that made him think of quitting from the sport. 

“I contemplated retirement for a lot of reasons," he said. "I felt like people were not sensitive enough to my injuries. I felt like a lot of people were backed, why not me? I have done no less. I have won a lot of games for the team, and I am not feeling backed. I don't usually look for help, that somebody needs to back me, that somebody needs to cushion me or give me empathy. I felt I was not being able to be excellent and felt I needed a shoulder to lean on. It was not happening. I thought maybe I should try to find something else and be excellent at that."

The Tamil Nadu cricketer acknowledged his family's support throughout the journey, as he further opened up on his difficult times.

“Just after the England series in 2018, after Southampton, was one phase," Ashwin said. "Again in Australia later that year where I tore my abdomen after the Adelaide Test, before and after Sydney. Many stages. The only person I would be talking to was my wife. But my father was hell-bent: you will make a comeback in white-ball cricket, and I will see that before I die. For him it was more personal."

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