Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Ravichandran Ashwin opens up on Ravi Shastri’s comment which ‘crushed’ him: ‘Felt like I was thrown under the bus’

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Ravichandran Ashwin opens up on Ravi Shastri’s comment which ‘crushed’ him: The premier off-spinner, who is just 8 wickets away from surpassing Kapil Dev’s tally of 434 Test wickets and becoming second on the list of highest wicket-takers in the format from the country, has revealed a comment from former head coach Ravi Shastri which “crushed” him during the India’s 2018-19 tour of Australia. Follow more such sports news on InsideSport.IN

Ravichandran Ashwin opens up on Ravi Shastri’s comment which ‘crushed’ him: ‘Felt like I was thrown under the bus’

The statement from Shastri had come after India’s final Test of the tour in Sydney where Kuldeep Yadav took a five-wicket-haul to give Australia a major scare in the rain-marred match.

“Already! He plays overseas Test cricket and he gets five wickets, so he becomes our primary overseas spinner. Going ahead, if we have to play one spinner, he is the one we will pick. “There is a time for everyone (referring to Ashwin’s poor fitness record in 2018). But now Kuldeep is our frontline number one overseas spinner,” Shastri had said.

In a recent interview with ESPNcricinfo, Ashwin said that he was happy for Kuldeep Yadav before admitting that Shastri’s blunt admission had “crushed him” and he felt like “being thrown under the bus”.

“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. We all talk about how important it is to enjoy your team-mates’ success. And I was happy for Kuldeep. I have not been able to get a five-for but he has a five-for in Australia. I know how big it is. Even when I have bowled well [at other times], I haven’t ended up with a five-for. So I am genuinely happy for him. And it’s an extremely happy occasion, to win in Australia,” Ashwin told ESPNcricinfo.

Explaining his mental state at that moment, Ashwin stated that he lacked a sense of belonging in the Indian dressing and found it hard to go to the team parties.

“But if I have to come and partake in his happiness, and the success of the team, I must feel like I belong there. If I feel like I am being thrown under the bus, how am I supposed to get up and come for a party to enjoy the team’s or team-mate’s success? I went back to my room and then I spoke to my wife. And my children were there. So we were able to, you know, shrug it off, and I still made it to the party, because, end of the day, we had won a massive series.”

On the first Test of the tour, the off-spinner had scalped six wickets in the match and played a crucial role in India’s 31-run win in Adelaide to take a 1-0 lead. However, the Chennai-born could not feature in the next three matches because of an injury. Towards the end of the series, Ashwin’s performance in the first Test was “a distant memory” because of all the outside noises and comparisons.

“The first Test seemed like a distant memory by then. I had taken three of the first four wickets in the first innings after we were bowled out cheaply, and then when it got really flat in the final innings, I plugged away for 50-plus overs and took three wickets despite what turned out to be a grade three abdomen tear. In my mind, I had done something great for the team in excruciating pain, but all I heard was, ‘Nathan Lyon took six, Ashwin took three’.

“As it is, I was frustrated with my body for letting me down when I was in really good bowling form. The last thing I needed was these comparisons and insinuations. Between that reaction and Sydney, it didn’t feel like I had played any part at all.” 

The 4-match Test series which India won by a 2-1 margin, saw Ashwin, Jadeja and Kuldeep take 6, 7 and 5 wickets from 1, 2 and 1 matches respectively.

Since the completion of the series on January 7, 2019 – Ashwin has taken 85 wickets in 16 matches at an average of 18.85. He is only Indian in the top-10 of the latest ICC Test rankings for bowler. The tweaker is placed second behind Australia captain Pat Cummins on the list.

Kuldeep Yadav’s career has gone south lately and after not getting much of game time, the 27-year-old has lost his place in the team. After his heroics in Sydney in 2019, Kuldeep featured in a Test match for India after 2 years in February this year. The Test match also happens to be his last before getting dropped from the team.

Ravichandran Ashwin opens up on Ravi Shastri’s comment which ‘crushed’ him: ‘Felt like I was thrown under the bus’

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