R Ashwin 'ageing', says 'body wasn't moving' shortly after texting Virat Kohli 'let's fight it one more time' | Crickit
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R Ashwin 'ageing', says 'body wasn't moving' shortly after texting Virat Kohli 'let's fight it one more time'

May 23, 2024 02:29 PM IST

Ravichandran Ashwin said he is 'ageing' and that he was struggling with an abdomen injury through IPL 2024.

Until last evening, Ravichandran Ashwin had a reasonably quiet IPL 2024. With 7 wickets from 12 matches, the off-spinner was way behind Yuzvendra Chahal, Rajasthan Royals' leading wicket-taker of the season, in the pecking order. But on the day that mattered, against the red-hot Royal Challengers Bengaluru, Ashwin put up his best show of the season, finishing with 2/19 off his four overs in the all-important Eliminator and took home the Player-of-the-Match award.

Virat Kohli and Ravichandran Ashwin hug after RR beat RCB in IPL 2024 Eliminator(AFP)
Virat Kohli and Ravichandran Ashwin hug after RR beat RCB in IPL 2024 Eliminator(AFP)

However, Ashwin's heroics weren't without his struggles. The 37-year-old veteran revealed that he was bogged down by stiffness and an injury that made it extremely difficult for him to move around in the initial period of IPL 2024. Honestly, had Ashwin not mentioned it, no one could have guessed. That's the commitment of the man. But irrespective of the setbacks, Ashwin rose to the occasion and bowled a spell that could well have made the difference in the outcome.

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"Truth be told, [in] the first half of the season, my body wasn't moving at all. I felt like I wasn't able to complete my action on many occasions. I had a little bit of an abdomen injury as well. So I couldn't really get through it a lot. But having committed to your franchise and the kind of boys we have in the dressing room, I put my body on the line in many of the games," Ashwin said.

"For me, it was more about the rhythm, and [about] hitting the right lengths. You come from Test-match mode, your body also needs to get into it... I mean, I am ageing, so it's not that easy anymore. But as the tournament went on, the amount of repetitions I need for the T20 game is a lot; I actually bowl a lot off the game time as well. I needed that amount of bowling time to get into the rhythm."

Ashwin's text to Kohli before the match

Ashwin's confession came after RR defeated RCB by four wickets and made it to the second Qualifier, where they will face Sunrisers Hyderabad on Friday. Ashwin finished with the wickets of Cameron Green and Glenn Maxwell, off consecutive deliveries when his spin partner Chahal had already sent back the dangerous Virat Kohli. By the time Ashwin came to bowl, Kohli was dismissed and even though the Ash vs VK battle couldn't unfold last evening, the off-spinner revealed a special text message he had sent to his former India captain.

"I texted Virat saying come on let's fight it one more time," said Ashwin during the mid-innings break.

It may take a while before Ashwin and Kohli are seen together on the same ground. With Kohli now scheduled to fly to the USA and, subsequently, West Indies for the T20 World Cup, Ashwin, who isn't part of India's squad of 15, may take some time off. India have a long Test season ahead where they host New Zealand in October for a three-Test series, and then tour Australia for the first-ever five-Test series for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. Kohli is expected to be part of both.

Ashwin had played a key role for India in the last two BGTs, picking 12 wickets in the 2020-21 series and 25 more two years ago.

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