“I want to be either a hero or nothing,” declares R Ashwin, unabashedly. The Chennai Super Kings' spinner was far from being a hero when he was smashed for 23 runs by David Hussey in the Super-Over against the Victoria Bushrangers. But he covered himself in glory in the Chennai Super Kings' win over the Warriors where he picked up three wickets.
This quick transition from a 'nothing' to a 'hero' brings out the strength of his character. It takes a lot of mental strength to quickly get over an instance where one has let down the team, and a positive outlook to redeem himself at the first given opportunity.
“Yes, I was really disappointed to let my team down, but then that was just about it. I quickly got over it and started thinking of redeeming myself as early as possible. Thankfully, I could do it in the next game,” he said, resisting the temptation of making it sound dramatic.
Most would try and forget a bad day in office in a hurry, but for Ashwin it was just another experience on the field. “Sunil Gavaskar told me that it was a big experience for me. I too see it that way. I put it in my experience book for future reference,” said the youngster.
The spinner said he had volunteered for the Super-Over, and wasn't nervous at all. “I was the first to put my hand up for the over, and wasn't nervous at all. All I feel is that I wasn't brave enough to try all my variations, and that still rankles me.
“The first thing I did next morning was to tell my team that I would want to bowl the Super-Over if we get into it again.”
Ashwin shows the same positive outlook on not making it to the XI of the India side despite being with the team for some time. “It doesn't worry me at all. It's one of the greatest ODI sides we have right now and I am happy to wait for my chance. I am content with getting a chance to work with the India team in the nets and improve. How many people get that chance after all,” he asks. ‘the way to go, Ashwin!
Rain disrupts semifinal
The first Champions League semifinal between the Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore was halted by rain after just 17 balls on Friday.
Chennai, who won the toss and opted to bat at a windy and overcast Kingsmead Stadium in Durban, were 15-0 after 2.5 overs when the rain came and the umpires took the players off. Murali Vijay was 11 not out and Mike Hussey four not out for Chennai.
Chennai will qualify for the final if the game is abandoned after they topped Group A and Bangalore finished second in Group B. The groundstaff placed a huge green cover on the pitch as the rain grew steadily heavier.
Kingsmead attracted a sellout crowd for the first knockout match of the tournament, featuring the two star-studded IPL teams.
Chennai have been boosted by the return of all-rounder Albie Morkel, who has recovered from the illness that ruled him out of Chennai’s last two games. The big-hitting South African was recalled to the team alongside bowler L Balaji.
They replace Justin Kemp and Shadab Jakati, who played in Wednesday’s victory over the Warriors.
Bangalore keeps the same team that beat the Lions by six wickets in Johannesburg on Tuesday to seal their place in the semifinals. Virat Kohli is back at no. 6 after his match-winning innings at no. 3 against the Lions, but Bangalore is without Jacques Kallis after its star allrounder was ruled out for the rest of the tournament with a neck injury.
Both teams had to win their final group games to secure their places in the knockout stage.
Chennai and Bangalore have met in a Twenty20 semifinal in South Africa before, when Bangalore won in the last four of the 2009 IPL. Chennai won the 2010 Indian Premier League earlier this year.
Chennai: MS Dhoni (captain), Murali Vijay, Mike Hussey, Suresh Raina, Subramaniam Badrinath, Albie Morkel, Srikkanth Anirudha, Doug Bollinger, Lakshmipathy Balaji, Ravichandran Ashwin, Muttiah Muralitharan.
Bangalore: Anil Kumble (captain), Rahul Dravid, Manish Pandey, Robin Uthappa, Ross Taylor, Cameron White, Virat Kohli, Dillon du Preez, Praveen Kumar, Vinay Kumar, Dale Steyn.