By his own lofty standards, the recently concluded Indian Premier League season has been somewhat of a disappointment for R Ashwin. However, the off spinner, whose equation with Rising Pune Supergiants skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni was often under scrutiny throughout the season, has termed his season as a good one. In the city for the CEAT awards function, Ashwin spoke to HT. Excerpts:
How would you sum up your IPL and Pune’s season?
Personally, I had a good IPL. If you look around at the spinners I think I was one of the most economical at 7.25. I picked up 10 wickets as well for whatever I could create in the game. I bowled far lesser overs compared to the other seasons. I did a decent enough job. But there were a couple of times where the game was on the line and I would have definitely liked to break the game at such situations, but I personally and the team did not have the opportunity as we had a bad season.
Apart from the injuries to foreign players like Kevin Pietersen, Steve Smith and Faf du Plessis, what were the other reasons behind Pune’s woes this season?
I don’t think so. Many of us were trying to get together as a group and find a brand of cricket we need to be playing. We were playing our home games in Pune for the first half of the season and then played at Vizag. We had to change our game and game plans to a great extent. The injuries didn’t help. Building a franchise and making it a strong team is not just a year’s work. It’s a process which happens over three-four years. I’m sure the franchise owners will find an answer.
You ended 2015 as the top ranked Test bowler and currently you trail Stuart Broad by just a point. Are you looking at the West Indies tour as a chance to get back to the top of the rankings?
I’m really grateful for the fact that I’ve been picked for the West Indies tour squad. Rankings don’t come into my mind when I go out there and play. I’m just looking forward to a good tour. This will be some sort of a new beginning for the team; it’s probably the third tour away from India under Virat Kohli. We’re looking forward to it. We’ve played some quality Test cricket and we’re looking to carry on with it.
What’s your assessment of Virat as a captain?
Virat is a very thorough captain. He does his homework before the game. We do a lot of team meetings before the game, there’s a lot of honesty around. That gives me the confidence and interest while going out on the field. He gives me enough freedom to express myself and take control of what fields I want to set and how I want to bowl. These are the kind of conversations we have and conversations generally lead to lot of clarity. There’s a lot more clarity around. I’m sure we’ll face challenges over the next few years and we’ll try and find out more and more about each other.
There has been a lot of speculation on who will be India’s next coach. Rahul Dravid’s is one of the names being tossed around. What is your view on Dravid being appointed as coach?
It is job that will involve a lot of scrutiny. As players we have the responsibility of working closely with whoever is being given that opportunity. We need to make sure that our goal in one. I would not like to speculate over names.