'I felt crushed': Ashwin on Ravi Shastri terming Kuldeep Yadav as India's frontline overseas spinner

Published on Dec 21, 2021 04:00 PM IST
  • Ashwin, who is currently on the tour of South Africa for a three-Test series, also revealed that he had contemplated retirement for not being "backed" despite his contribution to the team's success.
India's Ravichandran Ashwin(Action Images via Reuters)
India's Ravichandran Ashwin(Action Images via Reuters)
By, New Delhi

Seasoned off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has revealed that he felt "crushed" when Ravi Shastri coined Kuldeep Yadav as the team's frontline overseas spinner. Following India's historic Test series triumph Down Under in 2019, Shastri heaped praise on Kuldeep, who took a fifer in Sydney in the rain-marred Test and the series finished 2-1 in the Virat Kohli-led unit's favour.

On Ashwin's future with the team, Shastri had said, "There is a time for everyone (referring to Ashwin's fitness and injury issues). But now Kuldeep is our frontline number one overseas spinner." Cut to the present day and the Chennai-born is third-highest wicket-taker for India in Test cricket with 427 plucks in 81 games. In the recently concluded Test series against New Zealand, he past veteran spinner Harbhajan Singh's tally of 417 Test wickets.

When asked how he felt about Shastri's comments, Ashwin said that he was heartbroken at that point of time but Kuldeep's success did make him happy. “I hold Ravi bhai in high esteem. We all do. And I understand we all can say things and then retract them. In that moment, though, I felt crushed. Absolutely crushed. We all talk about how important it is to enjoy your team-mates' success. And I was happy for Kuldeep. I have not been able to get a five-for but he has a five-for in Australia. I know how big it is. Even when I have bowled well [at other times], I haven't ended up with a five-for," he told The Cricket Monthly.

"...If I have to come and partake in his (Kuldeep’s) happiness, and the success of the team, I must feel like I belong there. If I feel like I am being thrown under the bus, how am I supposed to get up and come for a party to enjoy the team's or team-mate's success? I went back to my room and then I spoke to my wife. And my children were there. So we were able to, you know, shrug it off, and I still made it to the party, because, end of the day, we had won a massive series."

Ashwin, who is currently on the tour of South Africa for a three-Test series, also revealed that he had contemplated retirement for not being "backed" despite his contribution to the team's success. Earlier this year, the 35-year-old tweaker made a surprise white-ball comeback after being named in India's squad for the T20 World Cup 2021. '

“Between 2018 and 2020, I contemplated giving up the sport at various points. I thought, "I have put in a lot of effort, but it is not coming through." The harder I tried, the farther it felt. I contemplated retirement for a lot of reasons. I felt like people were not sensitive enough to my injuries. I felt like a lot of people were backed, why not me? I have done no less. I have won a lot of games for the team, and I am not feeling backed.”

“I don't usually look for help, that somebody needs to back me, that somebody needs to cushion me or give me empathy. I felt I was not being able to be excellent and felt I needed a shoulder to lean on. It was not happening. I thought maybe I should try to find something else and be excellent at that," Ashwin, who is only eight wickets away from surpassing Kapil Dev in the list of highest Indian Test wicket-takers, further said.

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