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2020-04-27

R Ashwin remembers his ouster from the IPL 2010 CSK squad as a 'hard slap'

Image:-R Ashwin recalls his ouster from CSK squad

Two bad games in the IPL were all it took for the leading Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin to realize that bowling in the T20s wasn't as easy as he assumed it was, the reality hit him a decade ago as a "hard slap."

Ashwin spoke during a podcast with cricketer-turned-commentator Sanjay Manjrekar for 'ESPNCricinfo' about how he was affected by the 2010 IPL with the Chennai Super Kings, the challenges of bowling in hostile conditions in Australia and England, and why spin twin Ravindra Jadeja is a 'natural athlete.'

Ashwin recalled the 2010 IPL when, after two bad games, he was dropped from the CSK squad, which was like a "hard slap," more so because he felt the coach Stephen Fleming "didn't talk to him" and wasn't backed enough.

"People thought I think heavily of myself but the curve flattening happened when I was playing in the IPL. It was like a slap in the face like 'hear boss that you're not even here.'

"I thought it was much easier to bowle in a T20 game than bowling in a first-class game," Ashwin recalled.

It was a game against Royal Challengers in Bangaluru, where he was taken to the cleaners by Robin Uthappa and Mark Boucher

"Robin Uthappa and Mark Boucher taught me harsh lessons while I was bowling at RCB on the 14th, 16th, 18th and 20th. That youngster in me never told me it was a challenge. I found this as a chance to pick wickets.

"I didn't get wickets but went for 40 or 45 runs and put my team in a hole as the next game went into Super Over and we lost it and I got dropped out of the squad. It felt like a hard slap,' said the tweaker from Tamil Nadu.

Those were the days when IPL franchises would release players who aren't in first 18 to save hotel costs during home games. Ashwin watched CSK games on TV, back home.

"I've been dropped, I've vacated the hotel and sat down at home. I thought I deserved better than I was in the 2010 World T20 in West Indies in the 30 probabilities (he didn't do it on that tour), "he said.

"Why did you not back me (CSK) like I thought? In the first three games I did exceedingly well and I had just had two bad games. Anyone can be hit for a couple of games. "He admitted having problems with Fleming who had let him down, he thought.

"I had a problem with Stephen Fleming actually that he did not have a chat. I valued him so much, that he had no chat. So I sat at home watching CSK games and making promises in my head that I'll turn the tide one day, "Ashwin said.

He's come a long way since. Ashwin, 33, picked 365 wickets from 71 tests, but his performance in SENA countries (South Africa, England, New Zealand, and Australia) did not match the high standards he set at home.

"Increasingly, the number of games I've played in England, I've begun to realize that in order for a spinner to be bowling in alien conditions and to be able to repeat similar numbers (as at home), you first need to be bowling in all the right times of the game," Ashwin said.

"And, second, you need luck a little bit. After 2014 (December 2013) when I had that game in South Africa, I took a very serious look at my numbers and those numbers have increased significantly very, very well." "For me to be able to deliver on a consistent basis abroad there are many factors beyond me that need to go into it. "The current Indian team is by far the most fitting across generations and when Manjrekar asked how to deliver.

"... let me tell you that even if I train twice a day, and then have a cheat meal, it will be 800 gm in weight," Ashwin said.

But, according to Ashwin, someone like Jadeja is a natural person and doesn't need to put that extra effort into being fit unlike him.

"In a certain way some people are blessed and I love to compare myself with Ravindra Jadeja's. He's a blessed cricketer, physically fit to the full.

"I become more rudimentary, the harder I train, to stay even close to where Jadeja is. While Jadeja is a natural cricketer, bowler and natural batsman. So he just needs to tick all the boxes during a game. "Ashwin said he needed to work two months prior to a series to reach Jadeja's level of natural fitness. "... that is why I need to think more and take responsibility for it while having a field. Jaddu doesn't even need to think that because of his physical fitness, he will be able to land 30 overs on spot, "he said.