Responding to R Ashwin’s 'absolutely crushed' remark, Ravi Shastri has stated that his job is not to butter everyone’s toast. Ashwin recently revealed that he felt 'absolutely crushed' when Shastri referred to Kuldeep Yadav as India's premier spinner in overseas conditions in Test cricket.
Ravichandran Ashwin has been India’s premium bowler in Test cricket over the years, and the veteran off-spinner recently surpassed Harbhajan Singh’s tally of 417 wickets to become India’s third-highest wicket-taker in the longest format. Ashwin achieved the feat during the first Test of the two-match series against New Zealand in Kanpur.
Recently, Ashwin had revealed that he felt ‘absolutely crushed’ on hearing a remark from former India head coach Ravi Shastri. During the India tour of Australia in 2018, Ashwin had a decent performance against the hosts in the Adelaide Test, in which he scalped six wickets. However, Ashwin was replaced by Kuldeep Yadav for the Sydney Test match due to fitness issues. Kuldeep claimed a five-wicket haul and played a key role with the ball for Team India in the drawn Test in Sydney.
Lauding Kuldeep for his five-wicket haul, Shastri reckoned that the left-arm spinner is India’s best overseas spinner in Test cricket. Reflecting on Shsatri's statement, Ashwin stated that the former head coach’s comment had crushed him.
"I hold Ravi bhai in high esteem. We all do. And I understand we all can say things and then retract them. In that moment, though, I felt crushed. Absolutely crushed," Ashwin told ESPNCricinfo.
Meanwhile, responding to Ashwin’s ‘crushed’ remarks, Shastri has stated that his job is to state facts without agenda.
"My job is not to butter everyone's toast. My job is to state facts without agenda," Shastri told Indian Express.
Shastri reckoned that he was happy that his statement ended up hurting R Ashwin. The former India head coach cited Ashwin’s current form in Test cricket, and stated that his words actually helped the off-spinner to work on his fitness.
"Ashwin did not play the Test in Sydney and Kuldeep played and took fifer and bowled brilliantly. It was only fair I give that young kid who was probably playing his first or second Test match overseas and he bowled magnificently in that Test match. He bowled as well as any spinner has bowled in that Test match.
"So, I said the way he has bowled here is every chance he could be India's number one bowler overseas. Now, if that hurt some other player, I would say good. I am glad I made that statement and Ashwin made this statement. Because if it hurt him and he was upset, I'm glad the way he went about his job," Shastri said.
"The way he was bowling in 2019 and the he bowled in 2021 in Australia was chalk and cheese. I would go for the cheese any day," he added.