Ravichandran Ashwin, who today joined the elusive 400-club, admitted that fate had a hand in his resurrection and conceded that he might not have been a part of the Australia tour if not for Ravindra Jadeja’s injury. Ashwin also asserted that, at this point in time, he is bowling rather beautifully.
Four months ago, there were fears that the Test career of Ravichandran Ashwin might fade away into oblivion, particularly with Ravindra Jadeja usurping him as India’s go-to bowler away from home. However, an untimely injury to the left-armer opened the door for Ashwin to prove his credentials - and subsequently his greatness - and the 34-year-old since walking into the side, has been a revelation.
In 6 Tests since the start of the Australia tour, Ashwin has picked 36 wickets at a remarkable average of 20.08 and has had significant hands in three of India’s four wins in the said period. Today, once again, Ashwin ravaged England with a crucial four-wicket haul but, more significantly, became only the 16th bowler in Test history to pick 400 wickets.
All this and more, ironically, might not have been possible if not for the injury to Jadeja, and speaking post the Ahmedabad Test, Ashwin admitted the same.
“At the start of the Australian tour, I didn't think I would be starting, but then Jadeja broke down and it might have had to happen,” Ashwin told Star Sports after the match.
“I think my bowling is coming beautifully, I thought I was bowling well in the IPL. In Australia, I had a chat with Ravi and Virat on my batting, they felt I was bowling well. I worked a lot on my fitness, this body is aging, have been working on it and it has looked upwards for me since the lockdown.”
Getting to 400 Test wickets was a sweet moment for Ashwin, but the Tamil Nadu veteran was also under significant pressure to deliver the goods, with India having been bowled out for a paltry 145. Eventually he, with the help of Axar Patel, bowled the side to victory, but Ashwin admitted that India were ‘worried’ after a disastrous showing with the bat in the first innings.
“Pleasant experience (on reaching 400 Test wickets), good that it happened in a winning cause. It was nice to get the crowd on my back and applauding the effort. We were worried after getting bowled out for 145, didn't think we didn't have many runs on the board. But we then bowled beautifully on a wicket assisting us,” Ashwin said.
At 34, age might not be on Ashwin’s side, but the now-legendary off-spinner has time and again continued to spring surprises by constantly reinventing himself. The Tamil Nadu is now arguably bowling as well as he ever has, and he asserted that it is the urge to improve that runs ‘Ashwin the machine’.
“People are asking the same question (on what keeps him going). I want to keep improving, that's what motivates me a lot.”