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R Ashwin cried and blanked out before Rohit Sharma came rushing for help during mom’s health crisis: ‘I’d give my life…’

Ashwin withdrew from the third Test mid-way to attend to his ailing mother, but rejoined the side a day later.

Team India’s leading off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has opened up on the ordeal he faced during the third Test match against England in Rajkot last month, when he had to withdraw from the game due to a medical emergency at home. Ashwin had to attend to his mother, who he revealed collapsed after a severe headache.

Ravichandran Ashwin and skipper Rohit Sharma during the Test series against England (ANI )

Ashwin had taken his milestone 500th wicket earlier in the day and interacted with the press later in the day, too. In the evening, however, the BCCI released a statement confirming that Ashwin has left the side owing to a personal medical emergency. The off-spinner did, however, rejoin the side on the fourth day of the Test, and also took a wicket in the second innings as India registered a record 434-run win.

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In a video that he posted on his official YouTube channel, Ashwin delved into the events of the day, recounting the assistance extended to him by Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara during this challenging time.

“It all kicked off on the second day, though it’s a bit blurry now,” Ashwin said on his Youtube channel.

“I was on 499 wickets I think, and was hoping to reach the milestone in the second Test in Vizag, but it wasn’t to be. But on day two in Rajkot, I finally got Zak Crawley. It wasn’t a particularly great ball, but I finally got to the landmark.

“After the end of play, I had agreed to do some interviews and went to the press area. I’d just got my 500th wicket, so was expecting a call from my wife or father. I was a bit surprised not to hear from them, since it was almost 7 PM. But I figured they must be busy with interviews and responding to congratulatory messages, so didn’t think much of it.

“After being unable to reach my parents, I finally got hold of my wife on the phone. Her voice was breaking. I told her I was just about to get into the shower, and she asked me to go somewhere alone, away from my team-mates. She said that my mother had collapsed after a severe headache.”

Ashwin revealed that his wife, Prithi, talked to captain Rohit Sharma since the off-spinner was unreachable, possibly due to the interactions lined up after reaching the 500-wicket mark.

“I think since I wasn’t answering my phone, my wife must have called Rohit and Dravid to tell them the news. Rohit came in, saw me thinking, and just said, ‘what are you doing? You need to leave right away. Please just pack your bags and go’,” revealed Ashwin.

Cheteshwar Pujara’s help, Rohit’s support

The big challenge, however, was arranging a swift journey back home. However, faced with the absence of any flights to Chennai until the following morning, Ashwin received help from a long-time India teammate.

“I must say a big thank you to Cheteshwar Pujara as well, who spoke to a lot of people and arranged for a chartered flight for me,” Ashwin said. Pujara had been in Rajkot during India’s match against England due to his Ranji Trophy commitments.

Ashwin also revealed that Rohit insisted the team physio, Kamlesh Jain, accompany the spinner on the flight back to Chennai.

“Our team physio Kamlesh Jain is a good friend. Rohit told Kamlesh to accompany me on the flight to Chennai, despite Kamlesh being one of only two physios in the team.

“I told Kamlesh, ‘it’s ok, please stay back’. But when I went to the board the flight, Kamlesh and a security person was already there. Not just that, but Rohit regularly kept calling Kamlesh to check in on me and see how I’m doing. That deeply moved me. In a selfish society like ours, that man who decides to take a moment to think of someone else’s wellbeing, he’s truly great.”

Naturally, the gesture from Rohit had a deep effect on Ashwin and the 37-year-old lauded the India captain’s leadership abilities, thanking him for the support through the difficult time.

“Rohit is a special person, an outstanding leader, with a golden heart. I saw it first-hand. I’d give my life for him on the field, that’s the kind of captain he is. It’s because of these qualities that he’s won so many titles, including five IPLs. I pray to God that Rohit achieves even more in his career and life,” said Ashwin.

“My respect for him (grew more)…I already have a lot of respect for him. If he believes in a player then he backs that player. It’s not an easy thing. Even Dhoni does that. But he (Rohit) has taken 10 steps more. When it gets so personal like this, a player can even give his life on the field,” said Ashwin, appreciating all the help that Rohit provided.


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