In an interview with Mumbai Mirror, Ravichandran Ashwin has said that he is highly motivated to make a comeback in India’s limited-overs teams and is working hard to make it to the squad for next year’s T20 World Cup.
The 33-year-old has fallen behind in the pecking order in white-ball cricket for India, with the likes of Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Krunal Pandya and Washington Sundar climbing up the ranks over the past few years.
Ashwin’s last One-Day International appearance for India was in June 2017 against the West Indies, while the last T20I he played was also against the men from the Caribbean in July 2017. The off-spinner, who has a phenomenal record of 362 wickets in 70 Test matches, hasn’t given up hopes of once again playing white-ball cricket for India, though.
“Personally, I am mad about the game and it is beyond representation part (of the game),” he was quoted as saying. “For me, the game is be-all and end-all and trying to achieve happiness from it. My preparation and ambitions are very ripe. I do want to represent India, I have been doing it over the years, successfully at it. If you look at my T20 numbers and ODI number, they are no mean achievements.
“The hopes are still alive, but I take different approach from others. I don’t go and say I want to play, I don’t give interviews… Mine is more towards the action. In my last one and half and two years, my career has been hampered by injuries. For me it is putting things right and getting my body ready. Because I know I am good. So, it is only a matter of time before anything came my way.”
Being ignored for India’s limited-overs sides has been a bitter pill to swallow for Ashwin. He has taken 150 wickets from 111 ODIs and 52 wickets from 46 T20Is.
“I travelled a journey ever since, a journey of not being able to represent the country, a journey of being snubbed or not being picked,” he said. “It is no mean task, you have to deal with it personally. You then have to answer to people who are asking you questions. At the same time, you have to keep your dreams alive. It is not easy.
“That journey has been quite challenging. I have learnt to live and deal with it. Everybody tries to go through the journey of blaming someone else. I take it as another opportunity to try and improve myself. My constant search for excellence has got better and better. Whatever has happened since is either a perception or another person coming and doing well (which he is entitled to). Besides, someone doing well is beyond your control. I can keep sharpening my tools. That is exactly what I have done without having any expectations. “
Ashwin also spoke about how he felt detached from limited-overs cricket in general after being dropped. So much so that he even stopped watching India’s matches on television.
“Whatever I achieved I never expected when I started playing,” he said. “I enjoy playing day in, day out. But I felt somewhere in my career, because of the white ball snub and injuries, I had lost the joy of playing the game, which was very very dangerous for me. I could not watch the game on TV. That was something I did not enjoy. Thankfully I have gotten over it. I took the help of people and I have gotten over it. I am extremely happy, wherever there is a game and an opportunity to deliver, even for a club game, I would go with full commitment and willingness. If I keep my joy intact, there is no limit to what I can achieve.”
Read the full interview with R Ashwin here.