For off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, the game of cricket is everything, without which he says he feels literally lost.
On Tuesday Ashwin revealed how he worked on his skills during the Covid-19 induced lockdown and he also touched upon how he was not desperate to succeed in the recent tour of Australia where India managed to win the Border-Gavaskar Trophy against-all-odds.
"Look, I think, the whole pandemic thing and the way we were shut off, I was thinking what is going to happen? If you take this game away from me, I am literally lost. Even when I am not playing some formats of the game, I am always switching the TV on like watching the preview and what is happening. I thought the game is not on anymore, I was reflecting upon myself and how I can learn from people. In the past when I have toured abroad, it was more of desperation to prove others wrong. But this time when I went to Australia, it was about proving to myself what I am capable of," Ashwin told Kohli in a video posted on the official website of BCCI.
The off-spinner also highlighted how the likes of Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane have never been desperate to perform overseas, and how the duo always looks to better their skills."Over the years, I have noticed how some players are really balanced when they perform, the likes of you and Jinx (Ajinkya Rahane). When you (Kohli) went back to England in 2018, you wanted to do well but really within yourself and that was what I wanted to embrace," said Ashwin.
Ashwin's remarks came as India achieved an emphatic 317-run win against England in the second Test of the ongoing four-match series. As a result, the series stands levelled at 1-1 and Virat Kohli-led side has also reached the second spot in World Test Championship (WTC) standings. The off-spinner took an eight-wicket haul in the second Test, along with his 106-run knock in the second innings as India registered an emphatic 317-run win here at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.
In the second innings, Ashwin shared a crucial 96-run partnership with Kohli and this helped the hosts to post a healthy target in front of England.
When Kohli asked Ashwin about giving such a performance in front of his home crowd, he replied: "I do not know, for the first time in my career, I feel blank. When I went out to bat yesterday, I was feeling blank, I came and asked you can I start sweeping? That's exactly how I am feeling, zero emotions and feelings inside, rarely I find myself like this. You know me very well, my mind is always ticking. For a change, it is really blank. That partnership between us really set the tone and I am so pleased for us. I had asked you about wanting to sweep, if you had asked me to take some time, then I might have acted differently."
Kohli also touched upon the partnership with Ashwin and he said: "We had a special partnership in the second innings, the game was tentatively poised, Ash came out and he changed the momentum of the whole game."
India remains in contention to make the final of the ICC World Test Championship after completing an impressive victory over England in the second Test to draw level in the four-match series.
The victory in Chennai on Tuesday has lifted India to the second position with 69.7 percentage points on the points table but they cannot afford to lose another match as they need to win 2-1 or 3-1 to qualify for the final of the maiden edition of the championship.
England, who led the table after winning the opening Test, has slipped to the fourth spot with 67.0 percentage points. They can still qualify, but for that, they must win both remaining matches of the series against India.
( With inputs from ANI )
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