Ashwin Ravichandran was as candid as possible, with his usual wit at the recent press meet for his team Dindigul Dragons. The leading spinner of Team India, spoke about being inclusive as a mentor for the young players in the Dindigul Dragon team, Virat during the game and much more. DC brings some excerpts from the interaction.
Q What’s your advice, as a senior player, to the spinners coming out from the league?
Actually, this format (T20) — the pitches, and the bats — are increasingly making it difficult, not only for spinners but for the bowlers on the whole. The one important quality they should have is to be ready to get hit and bounce back the very next match with confidence. I think that would be the one takeaway for them from this tournament.
Q Being part of TNPL, were you able to explore the other parts of Tamil Nadu?
I went to Dindigul and Chennai but couldn’t go to Tirunelveli last year. The schedule was very busy. And again, this year, I am missing the whole tournament. I really wish I could play the entire tournament but the calendar is tight.
Q Test cricket is considered to be pinnacle of the sport. How far do you think TNPL can provide experience to young players develop into good cricketers?
Let’s be practical about it. T20 is a totally different sport. The requirements for T20 is not the same for Test cricket, and if I have to be very plain about it, the skill window in the game goes out massively. One thing that it (T20) will give them is the knowledge of handling pressure, and how to handle being scrutinised.
Q Virat Kohli is pretty serious, especially after becoming captain; how is he in the dressing room now?
He has always been the same! When he was not the skipper, he used to react from being in the deep-mid wicket, and now he reacts from short-mid wicket. It has not changed massively. We all know that he is pretty emotional; and he loves to win. That just stems from the fact that he is very passionate about the game. Other than that, he is just the same guy, and has not changed much.
Q When you are around local players, are you approached as a mentor by them?
I am very inclusive in my leadership style. I don’t leave any gap between me and the players and let them assume what they have to do. I give them a lot of clarity. So, they never have had issues of approaching me and that’s massively important for a leader to do.
Trolled for Man Utd talk
However, one of the statements by the cricketer has not gone down well with the fans. He has found himself being trolled for comparing Chennai Super Kings’ return to IPL after the two-year ban, to the resurgence of the football club Manchester United post the 1958 Munich air disaster. In what’s considered as one of the darkest days in Manchester United’s history, an airplane, which was carrying the club’s players, staff, supporters and journalists, crashed during its third attempt to take off from the Munich airport — 23 people out of the 44, in the plane, died in the tragedy.
The Chennai-based cricketer, while commenting on the CSK’s comeback, said, “I think the two years of hiatus increases its value, like it did for Manchester, when the air crash happened. I don’t know if it’s in the same league, but people in Chennai are looking forward to it (return of CSK) and fans across the country are also looking forward to it.”
Sports lovers openly expressed their displeasure with Ashwin’s comments, as they felt it was insensitive for the off-spinner to compare both the incidents. But the 30-year-old cricketer tweeted to claim that he was misquoted by the media. “Guys please take the reporting with a pinch of salt. With respect to the Munich tragedy and CSK, all I said was the break will make the fans turn up in numbers when it happens. Not required to blow it out of context (sic),” he said.