India’s Ravichandran Ashwin has admitted to feeling frustrated with his injury during the much debated Southampton Test in the recently concluded England series where Moeen Ali out-bowled him to help the hosts clinch the series.
The 32-year-old insisted that he had bowled “really well” but an injury stopped him from reaching his optimum levels during the match, according to an News18 interview.
India coach Ravi Shastri had stated that Ashwin was fit for the deciding fourth Test while skipper Virat Kohli admitted at the toss during the fifth Test that the off-spinner had ‘aggravated’ his injury, thereby ruling him out out of the dead rubber at The Oval.
“Obviously it was a little tight, it was a tear,” Ashwin said. “It was quite unfortunate it happened, but I am back to normal now. The injury was very frustrating. It happened at Trent Bridge (where India won). For me, it was all about wanting to make the series two-all.”
“The injury was a hampering factor but I have never played my cricket that way, saying something bad happened because of an injury. I took it upon myself to try and win the game for the team.”
‘Would have coped better’
Ashwin started the series well, picking up seven wickets at Edgbaston to give India the upper hand for much of the Test match. The following Tests, though, the wickets dried up. “It didn’t work out but I wouldn’t say I bowled too badly, either. People who know cricket and who have watched cricket will have understood that had things gone a little bit here or there, it would have been different, but that didn’t happen.”
The Chennai-born bowler came under scrutiny after England’s returning all-rounder Moeen Ali spun the Southampton match in his team’s favour, picking up nine wickets. Moeen took 5 for 63 and 4 for 71 while Ashwin Ashwin picked up just three wickets during the match. Speaking about that, he said: “Obviously, when you compare with the spinner (Moeen Ali) who bowled from the other team, it looks like that. But if my body had been better, I might have coped with it better.”
“Comparisons are anyway bound to be there because you are on the same scale and somebody else has picked up wickets and I have not delivered the killer blow.
Ashwin, however, was happy with his returns from the tour. “But overall, I thought my bowling in England was very pleasing for me. I won’t be really harsh on myself. I did bowl really well and my injury did let me down, it was quite frustrating.”
Ashwin has cleared a fitness test and was named in the 15-member squad for the two-match series against West Indies, starting on October 4.
Stand at the door and wait
The rise of wrist-spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal has seen Ashwin falling behind in the pecking order in limited-overs cricket. In the Indian Premier League last year, the no 8 ranked Test bowler was seen using deploying a leg-spinner to deceive batsmen.
Ashwin, who lasted played an ODI in June 2017, remains unfazed: “At the end of the day, competition is the healthiest thing. How many teams in the world actually have the luxury of sitting spinners of Jaddu [Ravindra Jadeja] and my quality outside?”
Jadeja, however, did make his comeback to the side after injuries to Hardik Pandya and Axar Patel during the Asia Cup.
“That’s something you need to applaud them [Kuldeep and Chahal] for, for having taken their chances with both hands. But to me, it’s all about standing behind the door and waiting for the opportunity. When the opportunity presents itself, I have to be ready to take it.”
You can read the full interview here.