After helping India win yet another Test series and becoming the country’s second-highest wicket-taker in the format, R. Ashwin is ready for the IPL, in which he will turn out for a new team this season.
After his two-year stint with Delhi Capitals, the off-spinner has joined Rajasthan Royals. He believes he has something in common with the Jaipur-based franchise.
“The Royals, for me, are a team that just resonates immediately,” Ashwin said. “For me, they’ve been a different team – always ahead of their time with regard to their planning and approach. They’re very bold and experimental in the way they approach their cricket, which is also how I see my game, so it should be a good synchronization, and I’m looking forward to it.”
He said he knew he was going to be picked by Royals when its management began bidding for him. “I just knew they were going to pick me,” he said. “I’ve known a lot of people here for a long time, people who I talk a lot of cricket with, so yes there is that connection.”
Ashwin said the IPL had contributed to his development as a cricketer. “The IPL gives a window of experimentation, something which has enabled me to come out a richer cricketer, irrespective of the results, every time I've been a part of it,” he said.
He said the IPL was a tough tournament. “There are a lot of variables leading into every season which can have an impact,” he said. “Dew, pitches, the opposition, you name it, and there’s a variable that can impact a game in different ways, which makes it a challenge to prepare for things in advance, and you’ve got to be ready at all times.”
He regards Royals captain Sanju Samson highly. “I think Sanju has got an amazing attitude and a good head on his shoulders,” Ashwin said. “He’s always open for discussion, open to opinions around the game, so that’s a great quality to have. I do believe Sanju has got the vantage point as a wicketkeeper to judge the game with all the angles, the pitch and how things are going to work. He also has age on his side and will definitely get better. I hope he has one blockbuster of a year.”
Looking back at his recent feat in Test cricket, Ashwin said: “The more I’ve played, the more it’s felt like the numbers are a part of the journey rather than the destination,” he said. “In the past two-three years especially, the feeling has been great, with series wins in Australia, the comeback into the T20 team, it almost feels like how I felt when I first broke into the team, wherein a lot has been going on for me.”
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