Ravichandran Ashwin, one of the finest spinners of modern-day cricket, has recalled a memory when he got a wake-up call during his early days of Indian Premier League (IPL) career. The off-spinner rolled back to 2010 when he experienced a reality check after getting dropped from Chennai Super Kings (CSK) squad.
During a candid chat with former Indian cricketer and now a commentator Sanjay Manjrekar on ESPNCricinfo, Ashwin recalled the 2010 IPL when he was dropped from the CSK team after two bad games.
The offie said that it was nothing “like a hard slap” for him. Ashwin expressed that it felt more so because he thought the coach Stephen Fleming didn’t talk to him about it and therefore 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 told Sanjay.
Ashwin reminisced about a match against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) after which everything happened. The Chennai-born stated that when Robin Uthappa and Mark Boucher took him to the cleaners, the incident taught him a harsh lesson.
“Robin Uthappa and Mark Boucher taught me harsh lessons as I bowled the 14th, 16th, 18th and 20th over against RCB. That youthfulness 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 in a hole as the next game went into Super Over and we lost it. I was then dropped from the squad. It felt like a hard slap,” said Ashwin.
Ashwin said that after being dropped from the squad, he left the hotel and reached his home and started thinking that why CSK didn’t back him even when he did well in the first three games.
“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 to that tour). Like I thought, why didn’t you [CSK] back me. I did exceedingly well in the first three games, and I had just had two bad games. Anybody can be hit for a couple of games,” the 33-year-old added.
For those thinking why Ashwin left the hotel, it was because back then, IPL franchises during home games would release players who were not in the first 18 in order to save hotel cost.
Ashwin also admitted that he had some issues with coach Fleming as the latter didn’t have a conversation with the former after being dropped from the side.
“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,” the inventor of carrom-ball added further.
Ashwin has come a long way since then. He has picked 365 wickets in Tests, 150 in One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and 52 in T20 internationals. In IPL, the CSK veteran has taken 125 wickets and is the seventh-highest wicket-taker in the lucrative league.