Ahead of the WTC final, Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has expressed his happiness over his current form and stated that he’s not looking too far ahead. He also stated that the health of Indian cricket, as a cricketing superpower, is amazing and credited IPL for playing a vital role.
When India clashed against New Zealand in early 2020, the talks surrounding Ravichandran Ashwin was in regards to his form in SENA countries. While Ashwin just got the one Test in New Zealand, he made up for the lost opportunity in Australia, where he left an indelible mark on the Indian bowling unit, prompting the management to play two spinners.
In the ongoing World Test Championship cycle, the off-spinner has picked up 67 wickets, and has a real opportunity of surpassing Pat Cummins’ record of 70 wickets in the tournament, in the final against New Zealand. The off-spinner, ahead of the final, expressed that he is enjoying his cricket to the tilt and isn’t too fazed about looking far ahead.
“I find myself in one of the happiest phases of my life. I'm enjoying my cricket. I am not looking too far ahead. If you want to enjoy the moment, you have to stay in the present and embrace it. The first and foremost goal is the WTC. To look beyond the next Test or tour is something I [no longer do], but to be putting myself on the list as elite is a matter of pride,” Ashwin told Sportstar.
Having started his cricketing career as an opener, the 34-year-old was handed a reality check, when he was dropped for Rohit Sharma before the 2006 U-19 World Cup. Ever since then, Ashwin has transformed himself as a spin-all-rounder, where he has made a mark for himself in international cricket.
“I never expected to get this far in my life. I have been an optimistic person, but if you have to look back at my life, to play India U-17 and U-19 as a batsman and just starting to bowl off-spin at 19, I have come a long way. Most people doubted whether I was good for Test cricket when I made my debut in 2011,” he added.
While the off-spinner was constantly making a mark in the domestic cricket, with Tamil Nadu, his performances came to the limelight only after he made his debut in the Indian Premier League, with Chennai Super Kings. Ashwin pointed out that most of his growth in cricket came through the first-class scene.
“My only explanation was that people saw me through the IPL and thought I am a shorter-version bowler, but most of my growth came through first-class cricket. That’s how I got noticed. Even today, they can find faults technically with my bowling, but I don’t think my bowling ability has been built on a technical platform alone. The ability I possess as a bowler or cricketer is superior to the technical skills one might possess.”
The off-spinner also claimed that his wicket-taking and match-winning abilities, from the toughest of conditions, is way better than the skillsets that some other cricketers possess. He also added that his entire cricketing career has been about adding stuff to the knowledge, tactically and technically.
“Wicket-taking and match-winning abilities are beyond a skill somebody possesses. My career has been built on that. Cricketing acumen and wicket-taking ability are a skill in itself. I have kept on adding them, tactically and technically, too. It has been a journey of learning.”
Ashwin also hailed the health of cricket in the country, calling the nation a cricketing ‘superpower’ before crediting a part of its success to the Indian Premier League, a tournament that has given a platform to several budding cricketers.
“It is amazing. The health of cricket in India is great. We are already a cricketing superpower; the IPL has played a very important role in helping India get there. The pressure and the platform the players get are amazing. I just hope it keeps growing. There are things we can improve on but I am sure we are on the right track.”