Felt crushed: R Ashwin recalls Ravi Shastri's huge praise for Kuldeep Yadav during 2018-19 Australia tour

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Updated: Dec 21, 2021, 03:13 PM IST


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In a recent interview, R Ashwin opened up on Kuldeep Yadav's five-fer in the SCG Test in 2018/19 Australia tour and then head coach Ravi Shastri's huge praise for the chinaman bowler. 

R Ashwin is gearing up for Team India's forthcoming three-match Test series versus South Africa, in the African nation, which gets underway from December 26 in Centurion. Ashwin, at 35, remains an integral part of the Test line-up and recently also returned to the limited-overs setup -- after a four-year halt -- during the 2021 T20 World Cup.

Back in mid-2017, Ashwin had lost his place in the ODI and T20I line-up whereas the rise of Kuldeep Yadav kept him on his toes even in the purest format. During India's Test series versus Australia in the 2018/19 Border-Gavaskar Trophy, Down Under, Ashwin played the first Test in Adelaide and helped Virat Kohli & Co. win the series opener by 31 runs. However, an injury led to his omission from the remainder of the series. Kuldeep made the most of his absence and played the series decider at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG), Sydney to return with a five-fer. Hence, then head coach Ravi Shastri labelled Kuldeep as the 'No. 1 overseas spinner' for India.

In an interview with Cricket Monthly, Ashwin opened up on former head coach Shastri's comments and said, "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. So I am genuinely happy for him. And it's an extremely happy occasion, to win in Australia. But if I have to come and partake in his 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?," said Ashwin. 

He added, "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."

At present, the tables have turned with Kuldeep not being in the scheme of things for the full-strength national side across formats. On the other hand, Ashwin has been on a roll in the home Tests versus England and New Zealand and was also India's second-highest wicket-taker in the 2020/21 Border-Gavaskar Trophy win over Australia in their own backyard. In addition, he has contributed with the bat in crunch situations in the recent past in whites. Moreover, he has also claimed 9 wickets in five T20Is ever since his return to white-ball formats.