Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin said it felt great to be playing Test cricket after the COVID-enforced lockdown, which brought cricket to a standstill. The bowler led India's fightback on Day 2 of the first Test between India and Australia, picking up 4 wickets for 55 runs.
The 34-year-old went to the extent of stating that he felt like he was making his debut again.
At a virtual press conference, Ravichandran Ashwin said:
"I am so happy that we are playing Test cricket again. It's been a long time and I didn't imagine that we would be playing Test cricket looking at what's happening around.”
He added that as he was ‘extremely mad about the sport’, he utilised the lockdown to improve his skills. On the experience of bowling with the pink ball, Ravichandran Ashwin stated:
“It was refreshing to go out there and bowl, the feeling was great. The pink-ball Test and all the new things about the pink ball.”
'Obviously, Smith wicket was a big wicket' - Ravichandran Ashwin
The veteran off-spinner, whose place in the playing XI was earlier questioned due to his average record in Australia, silenced critics by dismissing Steve Smith with a beauty. Ravichandran Ashwin then went on to add three more scalps.
Admitting that Steve Smith was the big fish, he added:
“Obviously, Smith wicket was a big wicket. The way he bats, so it was an important wicket and I enjoyed it."
He further stated that it felt amazing to just go out and play. An elated Ravichandran Ashwin exclaimed:
"I felt I was making my debut all over again so I really enjoyed bowling.”
The veteran, who is playing in his 72nd Test match, last turned out for India in the Wellington Test in February.
Having been cleaned up for 244, India responded brilliantly to bowl out Australia for 191. Apart from Ravichandran Ashwin, Umesh Yadav (3 for 40) and Jasprit Bumrah (2 for 51) also delivered with the ball.
India lost Prithvi Shaw for 4 in the second innings, clean bowled by Pat Cummins, and were 9 for 1 at stumps on Day 2.Published 18 Dec 2020, 19:46 IST