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

India vs England 5th Test in Dharamsala: Before his 100th Test, Ashwin poured his heart out in an interview with Anil Kumble.

Reinventing himself is the only constant in Ravichandran Ashwin’s life. Arguably one of India’s biggest match-winners in Test cricket since Anil Kumble, Ashwin has found himself out of the XI so many times that it almost became inevitable in the last few years. It is tempting to use the phrase for “reasons known to the team management” to badger the captain and the coach but that is actually not the case. India have always lacked batting depth when touring SENA countries and it so happens that the ‘better batter’ between India’s two champion spinners – Ravindra Jadeja and Ashwin – gets the nod.

India’s Ravichandran Ashwin speaks during a press conference in Dharamsala(AFP)

Another school of thought would tell you that Jadeja gives more control to the captain, allowing him to rotate his three or four seamers from the other end without even thinking of leaking runs. This is debatable. There is a difference of 0.2 in Ashwin’s overall economy rate and his economy in South Africa, England, New Zealand and Australia. He goes at 2.81 runs per over in SENA countries compared to his overall economy rate of 2.79.

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Jadeja, on the other hand, concedes 2.66 runs per over in SENA countries while maintaining an average of 37.23. Ashwin’s average in SENA countries is 39.26. There’s hardly anything to choose between the two as a spin-bowler in overseas conditions. It is Jadeja’s batting that calls the shots, at least that’s what the numbers suggest.

Ashwin has a slight issue with that factor only. Ahead of his milestone 100th Test match which will be against England in Dharamsala, the fastest Indian to claim 500 Test wickets, says he has made peace with the fact that bowlers will always play second fiddle to batters when it comes to getting more chances to fail.

Ashwin pours his heart out in an interview with Anil Kumble

Ashwin, as articulative as he always is, explained his feelings beautifully in an interview with the legendary Kumble on Jio Cinema.

Anil Kumble: “I absolutely believe your 100th Test match should have come much earlier. That’s how I feel because every time India go out and play in England, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, you have not played enough. The batters are the same, they tend to adapt to any condition but as a leading bowler, they sort of doubt your credentials of adapting to any condition. So how does that feel?”

R Ashwin: “I don’t want to sound controversial. I can compare this to a lot of other things that are happening in the world right now. But I genuinely do feel that bowlers play second-fiddle to the batters. That’s because probably, batters just get that one chance. I mean you are knocked out; you are out. This used to play on my mind constantly: Why is it that I get one game to fail and why is it that somebody else gets more games to fail? Eventually I have made peace with the fact that the team needs to win. Even when I am not playing and the team wins after five days, I am the most delighted person in the dressing room. When I was young, all I wanted to do was wear the India jersey for one day. Just because of who I am today, I cannot put my selfish interest ahead of the team. Yes, there have been disappointing days, but I have learnt how to deal with it, and I am extremely happy that I played alongside some of the great cricketers that India has ever produced.”


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