Ravichandran Ashwin says he 'wanted to give something back to the team'
Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has opened up on how he wanted to prove himself as a viable batsman during the 1st Test against West Indies in Antigua. In an interview with bcci.tv, the 29-year-old expressed delight in answering his team’s call with a resolute hundred.
Ashwin enthused, “I wanted to give something back to the team. I wanted to show I was good at No. 6 and wanted to lend some solidity. From there on, it was quite tiring innings and I played about 250 balls. I wanted to exhibit how I can bowl after a tiring innings as well, so I was pleased with that.”
Admitting that being promotion up the batting order was a pleasant surprise, the all-rounder credited skipper Virat Kohli for placing faith in his capability as a batsman and providing the perfect platform.
He divulged, “To be batting at No. 6 was a complete surprise for me. Virat (Kohli) told me on the morning of the match and I really liked what he said. He told me ‘Wet trust you and want you to bat at No.6 and see how it works’.”
Coming in to bat at 236/4, Ashwin forged a 168-run partnership alongside Kohli to take India to a commanding position in the first-innings. Not yet done, he returned to finish the match with a seven-wicket haul.
Ashwin quipped, “I always value myself as an all-rounder. Batting at No. 6, there is always more opportunities to get a hundred than at No.8. I have started really well on that. Batting at six, I have managed to get a five-for as well. So, I hope I go from strength to strength from here on.”
On the advantage of having the iconic Anil Kumble as head coach, he attributed his strong comeback from going wicket-less in the first innings to the former leg-spinner's words of wisdom.
The Tamil Nadu cricketer said, “In the past, that would have definitely troubled me as I am a bowler who likes to keep getting wickets. I kept speaking to him about what I was doing right and what I wasn’t. He gave me different ideas about what lines I can bowl to batsmen. He also told me to slow down a little at the crease. It is about the knack of getting wickets and it is a good that we shared today.“