It’s hard to be Ravichandran Ashwin. It can be challenging to wrap your mind around the reality that there’s a time when you’re the most coveted bowler in Test cricket. At the same time, the situation is the humbling fact that being the best player anywhere in the world doesn’t ensure a place in the Indian playing XI.
In the last two years, Ashwin has been chiefly an all-format player in India (barring his brief return in 2021-22); however, his appearances on that form have been limited to Ravindra Jadeja, who is just as impressive with a more track record in batting, securing the single spinner’s slot on tracks that are designed to prevent India from playing the two formats.
This was the case be last month’s World Test Championship final that Ashwin was able to watch from the stands on The Oval as India struggled for control and control at the start of the day in order in an attempt to regain the advantage and then the prized mace after just five days.
Ashwin, 36, returned to take part in T20 cricket on the TNPL before returning to the Caribbean and showed no signs of losing his speed with the red ball by scoring a five-for that was his 33rd wicket in Test cricket – on his first day of play in Dominica in the first game of India’s WTC.
“I’ve talked about the subject. It’s tough for a player when you are in a WTC final and find yourself sitting out,” Ashwin said. “All it’s okay. What is the distinction between me and someone else if I also cry in the locker room? In the WTC final, I was mentally ready to participate. I was physically and mentally prepared for the match and everything. Yet, I was ready to skip the game.
“If I’m not in the game, which is the best way to respond? How can I ensure that the locker room is in good shape? Achieving the WTC final was the top priority; it could be a memorable moment in my life, and I’d have been able to play an important role.
The only thing is that the outcome didn’t go as planned. The opening day was a disaster, leaving the team with much work to do at the shed. The only thing I’d like to offer my players, as well as Indian cricket, is my understanding and greatest efforts on the field. I’d prefer to end it there.”
At Dominica, Ashwin was pressed to the line from the first over following India had lost the toss. The first ball he took, the batsman drew a nervous inside edge from Tagenarine Chanderpaul. By his third ball, he was on the elite list of bowlers: Ian Botham, Wasim Akram, Mitchell Starc, and Simon Harmer, and could remove the father and son team in the Test match.
The top offspinner of the day added the attack of the captain Kraigg Brathwaite before Lunch, followed by a swift move to eject top scorers Alick Athanaze, Alzarri Joseph, and Jomel Warrican, achieving the mark of.
“There were some bounces from the wicket, particularly from the pavilion’s end. The wicket sloped as well, which also facilitated bounce. However, we utilized the initial session effectively. The wicket was damp, and the water flowed from it extremely well. They presented a diagram showing that the wicket was turning faster [in this second period].
However, it was extremely slow to turn. However, in the initial session, it bounced, the pace of off was great, and there was a bite. It was a great opportunity to use it. In the way that Jermaine Blackwood left just before lunch, the momentum changed entirely towards us. I also believe Jaiswal and Rohit played very well and provided us with a dominant day. Day 1 was very dominant,” Ashwin said.
The five-for pushed Ashwin over Anderson to take the number six spot on the list of cricketers with the most 5-wicket hauls during Test cricket. Rangana Herath (34), Anil Kumble (35), Richard Hadlee (36), and Shane Warne (37) sit directly above him.
Muttiah Muralitharan remains far behind at 67. In the process, Ashwin also became only third Indian bowler, following Kumble and Harbhajan Singh, to take 700 wickets in international cricket. The whole experience was worth enough to be considered.
“There isn’t a single cricketer or other human being in the world who has experienced the heights and lows without experiencing the lows,” Ashwin philosophied. “When you experience lows, there are two options: to get angry or talk about it, and then you be angry and then accept it as a fact and fall. You can also take the lessons learned from the experience. That’s why I’ve always learned from my mistakes.
“In truth, the most beneficial outcome of the good day I’ve been through is an excellent meal, engaging in an enjoyable conversation, speaking with my family members and heading to sleep, and then putting it aside. If you’ve had a great day, you’ll know that it was a great one, but there are still places you need to improve and improve in the coming days.
The constant pursuit of excellence keeps me in a great place. However, it’s been incredibly exhausting. The journey hasn’t been effortless. The journey for me was exhausting, but I’m incredibly grateful for the lows because, without lows, there’s no way to achieve heights.
“As I reflect on my professional career, I wonder what going by at such speed was like. There have been 14 years in the making, and if you add IPL as well, it’s close to 15-16 years of journey. It’s been like that. The only thing I can tell anyone would be… when I was the first meeting I had with Rahul Dravid in his capacity as a coach.
He said this claim: “It’s about more than how many wickets you score or the number of scores you make. Then you’ll be able to forget all of these. Only the wonderful memories you make together as a group will stay in your memory.’
“I’m completely behind it. I don’t know if the man trained me in that way. I’m certain that the whole thing has happened too fast for me to remember anything happening or how the process has been. I’m filled with gratitude and extremely thankful for my journey and the blessings it has brought me.
I’m unsure what other moments like this occur for me, and regardless of what comes my way, I will take it all in. Following Covid, the day that cricket resumed, I vowed to enjoy everything that occurs… regardless of whether I’m playing, being dropped, or retiring. Whatever happens, I’ll take pleasure in the experience.”