Ashwin looks to test the waters in warm-up games

Ravichandran Ashwin says, there is no point in actually going in with the same set of skills, time and time again and let the game change your skill.

R. Ashwin and Suresh Raina during the CEAT Cricket Awards in Mumbai on Wednesday   -  PTI

Away from the IPL spotlight for six weeks to sort out a sports hernia ailment, Ravichandran Ashwin was quite candid responding to a variety of questions, especially on the nature of limited over internationals played these days and MCC’s new rules from October that would clamp down on size of the bat and empower the umpires to send players of the field for excessive appealing and showing dissent.

Ashwin who had a remarkable international season (he took 99 wickets in 17 Test matches from the four-Test away series in the West Indies last year till the home series against Australia and scored 699 runs with two centuries and four half centuries) was presented the CEAT Cricket Ratings’ International Cricketer of the Year award by former batting maestro Sunil Gavaskar and Harsh Goenka, Chairman, RPG Enterprises at the C.K. Nayudu Hall, Cricket Club of India here on Wednesday.

He received a trophy and cheque of Rs. 5 lakh. Punjab’s Shubman Gill was declared the CEAT Young Player of the year for scoring 603 runs in nine games against the touring England Under-19 team. He received a cash award of Rs. 1 lakh.

The Tamil Nadu off spinner was one of the key performers in India’s 2013 ICC Champions Trophy-winning campaign in England and Wales, taking eight wickets in five matches at 22.62. But he has played only five ODIs (two in Australia and three in India) since January 2016. Talking about the nature of ODIs these days, he said: “The conditions are not stacked in favour of the bowlers. I feel you have to be prepared for any challenge thrown at you and I generally expect placid wickets, and that’s the way I prepare for limited over matches. As for as pressure is concerned, it is about handling one game at a time, and as you build up in every game, you start becoming a hot favourite.’’

Dissecting the ODI format a little further and his role, he said: “There has been lot of rule changes in terms of what ICC has done to the one-day format of the game (for example use of two new balls). There is no point in actually going in with the same set of skills, time and time again and let the game change your skill. It’s been going through my head and I have been working on a lot of stuff, based on how the game is changing and throwing the pace at you. I might be able to throw something new into this tournament (ICC Champions Trophy) hopefully; I think I am equipped enough to do it. Hopefully the two practice games (against New Zealand and Bangladesh at The Oval, London) will indicate how well I will go into this tournament and how well my variations might come to the fore. So I am just hoping that the two practice matches would be put to good use and bring something new to the team.’’

Before presenting the award, Gavaskar, who along with Ian Chappell and Clive Lloyd gave shape to the CEAT Cricket Ratings Awards in 1995, said: “The 22nd year of the CEAT Cricket Ratings tells the commitment the company has showed for Indian cricket. Generally sponsors look for instant recognition, but CEAT has made the hard work of Indian cricketers rewarding. A pat on the back is the biggest reward a cricketer values from his teammates in the dressing room after a good performance. The best batting, bowling and fielding awards performance compliment this and the CEAT award is like a cherry on top. This award is very simple and not subjective; points are given for runs scored, wickets and catches taken. Three years from now I wish the Indian team wins the 2019 World Cup and that would be the best way to celebrate the 25 year of the CEAT awards.’’

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