On day 1 of the first Test against the West Indies at Windsor Park in Dominica, Ravichandran Ashwin, the premier off-spin bowler, picked up a five-fer, to help skittle out the hosts for a score of 150. This was the 33rd five-wicket haul for the great man in the Indian jersey, also his fifth against the hosts and fourth in the Caribbean.
After the end of the day’s play, India were 80/0, trailing West Indies by mere 70 runs, with the debutant Yashasvi Jaiswal staying not out on 40, alongside his captain Rohit Sharma, who was 30 not out. Shortly afterward, Ravichandran Ashwin had a sit-down interview with Vimal Kumar, a well-known journalist at the stadium in Roseau, discussing the state of the match, most importantly, the recent career projection of the 36-year-old.
When the veteran was asked about his thoughts related to the omission from the playing XI in the World Test Championship (WTC) Final 2023 against Australia at The Oval in London, he had a magnanimous answer to the same. “It’s very tough as a cricketer when you have a shot at the WTC Final, to be sitting out. All that is fine. But what is the difference between me and another youngster or another person, if I also end up sulking inside the dressing room?,” quipped Ravichandran Ashwin.
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He talked about his preparation for the WTC Final to Vimal Kumar and said, “I was mentally prepared (to play in the WTC Final apart from the physical preparation) … I was also prepared to be not playing the game. If I am not playing the game, how do I respond, how do I make sure the team dressing room is really up and about, because winning the WTC Final is the most important thing and it could have been a very high point in my career and I could have played a good role in it. It was just unfortunate that it didn’t pan out and the first day left us too far behind in the shed.”
Ravichandran Ashwin talks about how Rahul Dravid convinced him to look beyond the wickets or runs
Ravichandran Ashwin referred to the statement from Rahul Dravid when he met him after becoming a coach, in which the former India captain convinced him to look at cricket beyond the wickets or runs. He said, "Rahul bhai (Rahul Dravid) always says it’s not the wickets or the runs that you will remember. The first time I met him as coach he made a statement and he said ‘it’s not about how many runs you make and how many wickets you take, as you will forget about all of them and it is the great memories that you create as a team that will stick with you’. And I am totally behind that."
“I don’t know if he has brainwashed me to do that, but from my point of view, I definitely think … I have got a lot of gratitude and am very grateful for the journey and what the game has given me,” he added.