When the lockdown was implemented in the country, a lot of cricketers increased their social media presence in order to entertain their fans by interacting with some former as well as current cricketers.
The veteran Indian spinner Ravichandran Ashwin made full use of the free time and started his own show named ‘DRS with Ash’ in which he invited Indian cricketers as well as few overseas players. One of the most famous faces that featured on the show was Indian captain Virat Kohli.
Latest to come on Ashwin’s chat show was former Sri Lankan off-spinner, Muttiah Muralitharan. For cricket admirers, It was indeed a moment of joy as they got the opportunity to watch two of the finest off-spinners of all time together.
During the chat, Ashwin revealed how the highest wicket-taker of all time stopped him from bowling leg-spin when the duo used to play together for Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the early seasons of Indian Premier League (IPL).
Here’s the conversation:
Murali: I bowled leg-spin for a few years in my school days, the reason was Ruwan Kalpage, also a Sri Lanka cricketer, who was also an off-spinner. There was another Test spinner in our age-group, a left-arm spinner. With two spinners playing in our team, I didn’t get a place. So for variation, I bowled leg-spin for a few days, and they selected me for a season.
I have confidence in bowling leg-spin but not sure it would have come out well in Test cricket. Bowling leg-spin and spinning the ball, bowling googlies is easy but landing the ball correctly is difficult.
Ashwin: You saying this made me remember, to play U-19 cricket, you’ll bowl leg-spin to get into the team but when I wanted to bowl leg-spin, remember what you told me? ‘Why are you bowling leg-spin? Bowl off-spin, you do that very well.’ Why did you say that to me?
Murali: Me bowling leg-spin was to get into the U-19 side. Now you are going to try and play for India, and the selectors say then only want leg spinners, the onus is on experience. Only when you take wickets, you will get confidence. It’s about proving yourself and not just proving yourself by bowling leg-spin. Instead, take more wickets by bowling off-spin that’s a challenge. Even I got dropped in my career.
They’ve dropped me from one-dayers, but I didn’t bowl leg-spin. I challenged them with my off-spin and took wickets. So I thought you forgot that challenge, that’s why I said it.
Ashwin: Now you’re saying this but after you told me that I only bowled carom balls and off-spin. I didn’t bowl leg-spin even next year.
Murali: That’s why you are here now.
In 495 international matches, Muralitharan picked up 1347 wickets – highest by any bowler in the history of the captivating game. Ashwin, on the other hand, has so far played 228 international games and picked up 567 wickets.