India’s premier bowler Ravichandran Ashwin is not only country’s best bowler but also the number one bowler in the world in the Test format. The 30-year old off-spinner has emerged as one of the biggest match winners India has ever produced. Ashwin has been the crucial link in India’s recent Test victories home and away, he contributed not only with the ball but also with the bat.
The world’s #1 all-rounder is currently on a record-breaking spree. Against Bangladesh, with the wicket of skipper Mushfiqur Rahim, Ashwin became the fastest bowler in the world to claim 250 wickets in just 45 Test matches. Over the years, the tall offie has expressed his insatiable desire to do well at the top level.
“I have played a significant part in every single Indian victory ever since I started playing for the country. I am not saying it in a tone of arrogance or cockiness. That’s what I have strived hard to achieve."
"I want to be the decisive factor wherever I go. Once I become the best beggar in the city, I would want to be the best in the country and so forth. I am happy the way I am,” as quoted by Deccan Chronicle.
On Australians having a gameplan against him
India is scheduled to play four-match Test series against Australia starting from 23rd February. Speaking about it, Ashwin said, “Honestly, I don’t have any plans for him. Aussies are all fine players. Steve Smith is going to be the most important player for them. Test cricket is not like T20 or one-day where you come up with a single plan and succeed in executing it."
"You have to try and restore balance and intensity over a five-day period. Warner is a massive player and he can change games around in a session. But, he can’t come and play on the fourth day like he does on the first. I think we have got enough resolve to stop him. Test cricket is not just delivering one decisive blow on that particular day."
On surpassing Muralitharan’s record of 800 Test wickets
“In reality, that’s not something I am looking at. It’s a massive achievement to go anywhere near Murali’s tally of 800 wickets. If I get there, it would be like surpassing my human limit. I started playing Tests a bit late and I have always fought against the odds. And, I don’t think I would want to extend one wicket more than what Anil Kumble (619) achieved. That’s a matter of honor.”
On his ability to think like a batsman
Ashwin boasts off a solid average of 35 in Tests, with four hundreds and ten fifties recorded against his name. These stats certainly prove the Chennai-born cricketer is also fine exponent with the bat as well. Recently, his Indian teammate Cheteshwar Pujara and his rival counterpart David Warner had praised Ashwin’s ability to think like a batsman.
On being asked about his unique quality, Ashwin quipped, “The fact that I was a batsman in my junior days has been a major help. I understand the batsmen’s psyche. I love the game so much, I watch it all the time and even coach some boys at my academy."
"I go to games that make no sense and I still watch them. All these give me different perspectives on the game. But sometimes, it’s counterproductive as batsmen are wary of me and they think twice before taking a chance. As a result, probably, they take fewer risks against me than someone else. And that’s when I go one step ahead and give a loose ball away. Over the last two years, I have been doing a lot of this and that’s why I look boring.”
On his dry spell in Test cricket
There comes a time in Test cricket when the best of the bowlers failed to pick up a wicket. That doesn’t really make the bowler less special but it is the passage of time where one’s patience and consistency is tested.
Ashwin said, “There have been spells where I bowled well without success. But I try and turn things around. That particular day at Chepauk, it nicked off, catches were dropped, some didn’t carry and lbws didn’t go my way. It happens. It was a bitter pill for me to swallow. If I hadn’t bowled that well, I wouldn’t have worried.”