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Fall guy puts up a brave face

india Updated: Jan 28, 2012 01:50 IST
Rohit Bhaskar

It's become an all too familiar sight. India has a bad day on the field. The team and the management need a fall guy. R Ashwin is the man they choose to face the music, and the media. For the fifth time in 13 days of Test cricket in this series, of which it was mandatory for the captain to make his appearance on three days because they were the last days of the matches, it was the lanky off-spinner who was sent out for the press conference at the end of the fourth day's play at the Adelaide Oval.

Going by the number of times he has been sent out to address the press, it would seem he was averaging 62.77 with the bat and 29.60 with the ball, when in fact it is the other way round.

To make things worse, under intense pressure and facing questions, and questioners who are blunt in their criticism of the team, Ashwin has made comments he wouldn't normally have.

Blaming media
In Sydney, he bizarrely said the media, and their talk of a possible 4-0 whitewash, was the biggest detriment to the team.

"For starters I don't know how it works with you guys. For us to just hear that repetitively (series whitewash), that itself is the biggest detriment for us," he said.

He then said the team isn't embarrassed about the beating they've received at the hands of the Aussies. "Two teams play, one has to lose. It's fine. Nobody is embarrassed in the dressing room. Quite happy to keep coming out and keep trying again and again. Things will turn around some time. Nobody is embarrassed, very sure about that."

Which begs the question why won't the seniors come out and take responsibility? Ashwin himself says that winning or losing is a collective thing.

Absence ridiculed
The Australian press hasn't taken this attitude of the Indian management kindly. One reporter even called Sachin Tendulkar "international mime artist" because he hasn't addressed the media once in over 50 days here.

Ashwin, almost like a martyr, insists he is happy to be the fall guy. "If that is what is required of me, if this is also a role I have to play as a cricketer, I definitely have to play it. If it is for the team, I am ready to take it (on)."