Ashwin: ‘Kohli is still the same guy’

"We all know that he is emotional and he loves to win for the country and that stems from the fact that he is very passionate about the game. Otherwise he is still the same guy," the India off-spinner said.

Ravichandran Ashwin at a press meet in Chennai on Tuesday.   -  B. Jothi Ramalingam

Has captaincy changed Virat Kohli? Ravichandran Ashwin doesn’t seem to think so. “I don’t know how my answer will come out tomorrow (in the papers). The question is pretty funny. He has always been the same, even when he was not the skipper, he used to react like that from deep mid-wicket. Now he reacts like that from short midwicket. It has not changed massively. We all know that he is emotional and he loves to win for the country and that stems from the fact that he is very passionate about the game. Otherwise he is still the same guy,” the off-spinner said on the eve of Team India’s departure to Sri Lanka.

Speaking about his own leadership style at a promotional event for his TNPL team Dindigul Dragons, Ashwin said that he believes in letting the players know what his demands are rather than leaving it to the players to assume.

“I am very inclusive about my leadership style. There are different ways of skinning a cat but my style is pretty inclusive and I don’t leave a gap between me and the players and let them assume what they have to do. There is a lot of clarity. I try and communicate. They never had issues of approaching me or anything. That’s a massively important thing that a leader must do.

“You cannot leave anything for assumption for these players. When they are unsure and unclear, the first thing they will do is pull back from a fight. I don’t want that. They should be in it and very clear about what they do.”

Ashwin treaded a cautious line on the debate about outstation players. “I am sure TNPL as an organisation has tried to explore its options. Whatever the legality and limitations are in respect to implementing those things entirely depends on what the communication is between TNPL and the BCCI...But I see a positive influence through this — more and more guys from Tamil Nadu will get to play and that will give them more opportunities to prove themselves,” he said, adding, “In a few years time, things will turn around and you will see people from other parts of the country [playing in the league]. I am not sure about the overseas options. If that happens then there will be two IPLs in a year.”

On the return of Chennai Super Kings (CSK) after serving a two-year suspension, Ashwin said: “CSK has been so consistent in the IPL and it was definitely missed. The two years of hiatus probably increases its value, like how did it for Manchester when the air crash happened. I don’t know whether the two can be compared, but surely people in Chennai are looking forward to it and fans across the country are also looking forward to it.”

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