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‘In India, 10 critics will tell you the wrong things but…’: Ashwin falls back on very ‘stressful’ person when in doubt

R Ashwin opened his heart out in a candid chat ahead of 100th Test for India.

The legend of Ravichandran Ashwin is set to grow exponentially as the India spinner is set to enter the 100-Test club when he takes the field for India against England in the fifth Test in Dharamsala starting Thursday. Besides being one of India’s biggest match-winners of the modern era and a veteran of 500 wickets, Ashwin’s biggest quality has been his never-give-up attitude. Be it the baggage of not being the most athletic fielder, or not being an automatic choice for India in away Tests, Ashwin has emerged out of every setback stronger and even more fiercely dedicated.

India’s R Ashwin gears up for the 5th Test against England in Dharamsala.(PTI)

Ashwin, during Tuesday’s press-conference, soaked in the adulation that came his way as the reporters scratched the fine details from him about his career, and while the India veteran credited his family – mother, father and wife – as much as himself for standing on the cusp of his most cherished century, the 37-year-old revealed the one person he always relies on whenever in any sort of dilemma.

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“I go back to one person and it’s very stressful for that person, and that’s me. Because I think cricket is one of the greatest self-thought sports, Anil bhai. And if you’re ruthless and very critical about yourself, I think it will give you the truth staring at your face. There are enough and more critics in India who will tell you, 10 of them will tell you the wrong things, but they’re definitely critical. But 10 of them will also tell you the right things,” Ashwin told Anil Kumble in an interaction aired on Jio Cinema.

Also Read: ‘Why somebody else gets more games to fail and I get only one?’ R Ashwin on making ‘peace’ with disappointments

Ashwin has done everything that a cricketer needs to do to be called a bonafide legend, but as Kumble pointed out in an interview with Hindustan Times, bowlers in India somehow do not enjoy the same superstardom as batters. As was the case with Kumble himself or even Harbhajan Singh, Ashwin’s name is majorly not talked about in the same breath as that of say a Virat Kohli or a Rohit Sharma.

Ashwin’s only pain

And still, think of the numerous occasions Ashwin has battled adversity to turn saviour for his team. The epic Sydney Test against Australia, when batting with a bad back and with practically a one-legged Hanuma Vihari, Ashwin salvaged a draw. Or the match-winning century against England in Chennai three years ago, when India were in trouble at 106/6 in the second innings. Or the countless times Ashwin has been thrown the ball to by his captain hoping for a breakthrough… and him delivering it more often than not. Ahead of this monumental game, the only thing Ashwin regrets is not savouring his accomplishments as much his captain, teammates, fans and the world over.

“Like I always maintain, my biggest pain has been the fact that I don’t enjoy my success as much as I should have. But, that has also helped me become a better cricketer. I have constantly looked for things to improve and I have made sure that I am very uncomfortable with who I am on a particular day,” he added.

“And then I get back to the drawing board and focus on what else I can do to bring more to the table. For example, Steven Smith has got a hundred against me, how do I nab him, or Joe Root has made a hundred, how do I nab him. So constantly that thought initiates a new action and eventually it has worked for me over the years, so I am comfortably seated there.”


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