“I am not feeling backed”, R Ashwin reveals he contemplated retirement after 2018 England tour

Ashwin felt he was not being adequately backed despite being a top performer for the side.

Ravichandran Ashwin | GettyVeteran India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has disclosed that he contemplated retirement after the England tour in 2018 as he felt he was not being adequately backed despite being a top performer for the side.

In an exclusive chat with ESPNcricinfo, Ashwin said there was a time three years ago when he used to get tired after bowling just six balls due to injury issues.

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"Between 2018 and 2020, I contemplated giving up the sport at various points. I thought, 'I have put in a lot of effort, but it is not coming through.' The harder I tried, the farther it felt. Especially with athletic pubalgia and the patellar tendonitis - I used to bowl six balls and then I used to be gasping for breath. And there would be pain all over the place. So you needed to make adjustments," quoted Ashwin.

"When the knee pain got excruciating, the next ball I would probably jump less. When I jumped less, obviously the force needs to be produced through the core and the back and the shoulders, so the pubalgia would act up. So the third ball I would be extra side-on to try to use the hips. By the time I was done with six balls, I would be like, 'I need a break here'," he added.

The seasoned off-spinner felt people were not sensitive towards his injuries and he didn’t get backing during the testing times.

"I contemplated retirement for a lot of reasons. I felt like people were not sensitive enough to my injuries. I felt like a lot of people were backed, why not me? I have done no less. I have won a lot of games for the team, and I am not feeling backed," said Ashwin.

"I don't usually look for help, that somebody needs to back me, that somebody needs to cushion me or give me empathy. I felt I was not being able to be excellent and felt I needed a shoulder to lean on. It was not happening. I thought maybe I should try to find something else and be excellent at that," he further remarked.

After the England tour in 2018, India’s next overseas Test assignment was the Border-Gavaskar Trophy down under. Ashwin struggled with fitness on that Australia tour as well and he thought about retirement once again.

"Just after the England series in 2018, after Southampton, was one phase. Again in Australia later that year where I tore my abdomen after the Adelaide Test, before and after Sydney. Many stages," said Ashwin.

"The only person I would be talking to was my wife. But my father was hell-bent: you will make a comeback in white-ball cricket, and I will see that before I die. For him it was more personal," he added.

Ashwin is part of the Indian squad which is currently on the tour of South Africa to play three Tests, slated to begin on December 26 in Centurion.


By Salman Anjum - 21 Dec, 2021

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