Having just come back from the long tour of England and recovered from a hip-injury, Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has said that even though he couldn't quite do justice to his potential in the recently concluded five-match Test series, he will strive to return better for the experience.
Ashwin started off in England with a bang, picking up 7/121 at Edgbaston, but his figures went down from there on, with the disappointing performance at Southampton, where on a pitch turning on Day 3 and 4 he just couldn't make any impact, standing out. Ashwin, even with the injury he sustained at Trent Bridge in the third Test, missed out on a great opportunity to finally leave aside all the doubts and criticism of his prowess in overseas conditions.
"The injury was very frustrating. It happened in Trent Bridge (third Test, which India won to reduce the deficit to 1-2). 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." he said in an interview given to Cricketnext recently, "I took it upon myself to try and win the game for the team. 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." he added, "Obviously, when you compare with the spinner (Moeen Ali) who bowled from the other team, it looks like that (that he himself didn’t bowl well). But if my body had been better, I might have coped with it better."
Ashwin also talked about the widespread criticism of not hitting the available rough enough like Moeen Ali did and simply trying way too many variations, at Southampton.
He said, "I don’t agree to the fact that I wasn’t hitting the rough as much as he did. When you look at the way they batted, they played the ball against the spin. I would much rather say that it was also about changing lines as a spinner. You can’t be monotonous and keep hitting the same spot when the batsmen are looking to take runs off you. When we batted both times, they had the ascendancy on the game." he stressed, "It was completely different scenarios, completely different tangents."
"Comparisons are anyway bound to be there because you are on the same scale and somebody else has picked up wickets (Moeen took 5 for 63 and 4 for 71) and I have not delivered the killer blow (Ashwin had 2 for 40 on the first day and 1 for 84 in the second innings)." he added, "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. Having said that, it is part and parcel of the game."
Looking forward to the home series coming up against West Indies, Ashwin cleared he is fit and ready to go.
He said, "It(the injury) is coping pretty well. I started running even before I left England (towards the middle of September), so that was a good sign." adding, "Now at the NCA, it is more about strength and trying to get my hip to move around the axis. Obviously, it was a little tight, it was a tear. It was quite unfortunate it happened, but I am back to normal now."