Off-spinner Ashwin Ravichandran said his focus is to keep improving after he played a key role in India’s 3-1 victory over England in the Test series that ended in Ahmedabad on Saturday.
Ashwin has now won eight player of the series awards in his 10-year career and is only eight short of equalling Harbhajan Singh’s tally of 417 Test wickets.
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It could well happen in England this summer but he doesn’t want to entertain any such thoughts.
“Honestly, that’s not even crossed my mind. He (Harbhajan) was a fantastic bowler. There’s a lot that I have learnt from him. I wasn’t even an off-spinner when Bhajju paa started playing for the Indian team,” said Ashwin.
“He (Harbhajan) was also an inspiration because of the famous 2001 series (32 wickets in three Tests against Australia). I never imagined in 2001 that I will be an off-spinner, and I mean who would have imagined those things. I was fortunate to play alongside Bhajju paa when I came into the team and also play under Anil (Kumble) bhai but I would now like to leave my own legacy,” Ashwin said.
Being a student of the game, Ashwin wants to evolve as a cricketer and a person everyday.
“My growth as a cricketer is a direct synonym to the person I am. I want to keep evolving, keep learning and that’s my second nature, directly proportional to the kind of cricketer I am and whatever I do, the best that I can be.”
Ashwin was once again asked what he thought about all the criticism directed towards the pitches in the series and the 34-year-old didn’t mince his words.
Ashwin’s apathy for all those pitch critics is well documented and he would love to see how the global media reacts when a green top is given to India when they go for a game outside the sub-continent.
“The series win is a testament to the fact that this is a really good Indian cricket team. That’s all I would like to say. The other day, I was listening to what Sunny bhai (Sunil Gavaskar) was saying and it made sense,” Ashwin said referring to Gavaskar’s statement about not giving too much credence to foreign critics of Indian pitches.
“Only because we are giving attention to people who are making a mockery of it, we are encouraging them to do it non-stop,” he said.
“I would like to see a pitch covered with grass somewhere else in the world and some of our Indian commentators taking pictures and putting an Instagram post. I would like to see how the global media takes notice of that and then we will know who’s at fault.”
Ashwin was also full of praise for India opener Rohit Sharma, who scored a total of 345 runs which including a crucial 161 in the second Test.
“Rohit belongs in the same pedestal as Virender Sehwag,” said Ashwin. “He has always been a special batsman. It’s not an evolution. It was a matter of time and nobody is surprised that he is doing what he is doing. I just hope he goes on to win a World Cup for India.”
(With inputs from PTI)