Getting dropped from CSK’s playing eleven was ‘hard slap’: R Ashwin

NEW DELHI: Two bad games in the IPL was all that it took for premier Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin to realise that bowling in T20s was not as easy as he assumed it to be, the reality hitting him like a “hard slap” a decade back.
During a podcast with cricketer-turned-commentator Sanjay Manjrekar for ‘ESPNCricinfo’, Ashwin spoke about how the 2010 IPL with the Chennai Super Kings affected him, the challenges of bowling in hostile conditions of Australia and England, and why spin twin Ravindra Jadeja is a “natural athlete”.
Ashwin recalled the 2010 IPL when he was dropped from the CSK squad after two bad games, which was like a “hard slap”, more so because he felt that coach Stephen Fleming “didn’t talk to him” and he was not backed enough.
“People thought that I think highly of myself but the flattening of the curve happened when I played in the IPL. It was like a slap in the face like ‘listen boss you are not even here’.
“I thought bowling in a T20 game was much easier than bowling in a first-class game,” Ashwin recalled.
It was a game against Royal Challengers Bangalore in Bengaluru where Robin Uthappa and Mark Boucher took him to the cleaners.
“Robin Uthappa and Mark Boucher taught me harsh lessons as I bowled 14th, 16th, 18th and 20th over at RCB. That youth in me never told me that it was a challenge. I found it as an opportunity to pick wickets.
“I didn’t get wickets but went for 40 or 45 runs and put my team into a hole as the next game went into Super Over and we lost it and I was dropped from the squad. It felt like a hard slap,” the Tamil Nadu tweaker said.
Those were the days when IPL franchises, during home games, would release players who are not in first 18 in order to save hotel cost. Ashwin was back home watching CSK games on TV.
“I was dropped, I vacated the hotel and was sitting at home. I thought that I deserved better as I was in the 30 probables for the 2010 World T20 in West Indies (he didn’t make it on that tour),” he said.
“Like I thought, why didn’t you back me (CSK). I did exceedingly well in first three games and I had just had two bad games. Anybody can be hit for a couple of games.”
He admitted having issues with Fleming who, he thought, had let him down.
“Actually, I had an issue with Stephen Fleming that he didn’t have a chat. I valued him so much and he didn’t have a chat. So I was sitting at home watching CSK games and making promises in my head that one day I will turn the tide,” Ashwin said.
He has come a long way since then.

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