Thought career was at crossroads last year, didn't know if I would be in Test team: Ashwin

back icon
safari
30 Nov 2021 | 06:00 AM
authorcricket.com staff

Thought career was at crossroads last year, didn't know if I would be in Test team: Ashwin

Ashwin said Harbhajan inspired him to take up off-spin after he saw the veteran's exploits during the historic Test series against Australia in 2001

Ravichandran Ashwin, who took his 419th wicket in his 80th Test to surpass Harbhajan Singh (417 in 103 Tests) on Monday, said he thought his career was at a "crossroad" after India's New Zealand tour early last year. Ashwin was supposed to be on the sidelines but an injury to Ravindra Jadeja opened the door for him and he continued to provide important breakthroughs to team India. He didn't make it to the team for the away series against England earlier this year, but made a point to prove his credentials after returning for the home Test against England.

Basking in the glory of becoming India's third-highest Test wicket-taker, senior off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has revealed that he feared his career would not survive the chaos unleashed by the COVID-19 pandemic last year.

"To be very modest about what is happening in my life and my career over the last couple of years, I did not know if I would go on to play Test cricket when we were in the pandemic, in the lockdown," Ashwin said in an interview by India team-mate Shreyas Iyer for the BCCI website.

"I had not played (India's) last Test in Christchurch (which began on February 29, 2020). I was standing at the crossroads thinking whether I would play Tests again, where is my future headed, do I get in to the Test team which is the only format I am playing. But God has been kind and I have been able to turn things around. I then shifted to Delhi Capitals when you (Shreyas) were captain and things have changed ever since," he said in the interview uploaded in bcci.tv.

Ashwin's entire family tested positive for the dreaded virus in May this year during the IPL's India leg and he had to quit the event, which was eventually completed in the UAE in September-October. Ashwin said Harbhajan inspired him to take up off-spin after he saw the veteran's exploits during the historic Test series against Australia in 2001.

"When he (Harbhajan) was bowling that wonderful spell against Australia in 2001, I never thought I would even be an off-spinner (one day) on that particular day. But, inspired by him, I picked up the ball to bowl off-spin and here I am. Thank you Bhajji pa for inspiring me.

"It is a wonderful milestone. It is a matter of pride. I got my 200th wicket on the same ground and now I surpassed Harbhajan Singh's tally on this very same ground again."

Recalling how he became an off-spinner after watching Harbhajan, Ashwin said, "Actually, I was more of a batter. I used to bowl a lot of seam-up for Tamil Nadu and then my pelvic disc slipped. Then I just started batting, I didn't want to bowl at all. I wanted to do nothing with bowling. After the 2001 Border-Gavaskar Trophy, I decided to take up spin bowling. That's when I watched Bhajji pa. It was pretty easy, put your hands across and just hop and skip and you keep going. That's how I started, but now I don't know whether I can do it (copy Harbhajan's style) because I have been on my action for a long, long time," he added.

Ashwin thanked Harbhajan for congratulating him on his milestone. "I would like to thank him for the message. I will go and if I see it on Twitter, I will reply to him as well. Thank you so much Bhajji pa. Probably I never wished to surpass any of the legends but I am doing it. I am lucky and honoured to have done it.

"But overall, these are numbers that are just happening as a result of what effort I have been putting in and how I am trying to enjoy my game. At this point in time, honestly speaking, I am not worried about what number I am surpassing or anything."

(With inputs from PTI)

heart
shareGray Share
Tags
India vs New ZealandNew Zealand tour of India, 2021IndiaRavichandran AshwinHarbhajan SinghShreyas Iyer

Related Articles

safari
NEWS
Harbhajan Singh tests positive for COVID-19, under home quarantine
Harbhajan was slated to compete in the ongoing Legends League Cricket tournament in Muscat
userPTI
21 Jan 2022
safari
NEWS
Asked many people regarding my drop but didn’t get any reply: Harbhajan
The India spinner who has over 400 Test wickets to his name recently announced his retirement from all forms of cricket
usercricket.com staff
26 Dec 2021
safari
NEWS
It's about the memories you make: Ashwin on surpassing Harbhajan's Test tally
Ravichandran Ashwin went past Harbhajan Singh's Test wicket tally of 417 on Monday
usercricket.com staff
29 Nov 2021
safari
OPINION
Lights, camera, action: let the Ashwin-Axar-Jadeja era begin
Should things go as envisioned, Thursday might prove to be the beginning of a special partnership
userAnirudh Suresh
24 Nov 2021
safari
NEWS
Jadeja on par with Ashwin in overseas conditions, says Harbhajan
Former Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh felt that Ravindra Jadeja's batting prowess in the lower-middle order gives India more depth
userPTI
04 Aug 2021
safari
NEWS
Expect Ashwin, Jadeja to play in 'boiling hot' Southampton weather: Gavaskar
The former India captain also feels that their presence will add to India's batting depth
usercricket.com staff
16 Jun 2021
safari
OPINION
Ravichandran Ashwin's transformation in Tests bodes well for India
While Ashwin has been a match-winner over the years, the only criticism he has faced is over his performances in SENA countries. Can he set this record straight?
userPramod Ananth
13 Jun 2021
safari
NEWS
Siraj has shown remarkable improvement, should play WTC final: Harbhajan
Siraj should pip Ishant Sharma for the WTC final in Harbhajan's opinion
userPTI
10 Jun 2021
safari
NEWS
Don't see anything wrong with Kuldeep's bowling: Harbhajan
Once a vital cog in India and KKR's attack, the left-arm wristspinner has struggled of late
userPTI
13 Apr 2021
safari
OPINION
The Turbanator who prospered under an attacking captain
The only active Indian cricketer from the 90s, Harbhajan Singh has retired from all formats
userSomesh Agarwal
03 Jul 2020
logo
Cricket like never before
Follow us on
FacebookTwitterLinkedin
@ 2020 cricket.com | All rights reserved