Dubai: India’s leading spinner Ravichandran Ashwin who is one of the most articulate cricketers and a keen observer of the game remarked that Sri Lanka’s Rangana Herath is one of his role models.
Speaking to Gulf News, after launching Gen-Next Kings’ Cricket Academy at the Kings’ School, Al Barsha, Ashwin, who watched the Pakistan-Sri Lanka first Test match in Abu Dhabi on television, said: “Rangana Herath is one of my role models. I think he is a fabulous bowler. He just overcomes limitations very single day.”
Ashwin then went on to remark: “I think it was a great Test, it just showed how Test cricket can be really unpredictable.”
When asked whether age does wear out a spinner, Ashwin referring to 39-year-old Herath, said: “Age does wear the body out over a period of time. As far as Herath is concerned, he just keeps proving that he is a champion cricketer and he can use pressure to his good advantage. That is exactly what he did on the final day of the first Test.”
Ashwin who is one of the most consistent bowlers in world cricket has been rested by the Indian team. When asked whether isn’t it strange that a bowler who is ranked high slips down automatically when rested, Ashwin said: “I don’t have an answer to that because resting [a player] and making decisions are definitely not something that I can comment on because I am not the one that is in charge and I am not the one who is responsible for making these decisions. So very clearly. as far as I am concerned, every day is about being better than what you have been previously. I am definitely focused on developing every single day and becoming a better cricketer because that is the only thing that will last. Tomorrow, if I am given an opportunity, I should be the best I can be and probably even the better than the best that I can be.”
Last year Ashwin had won the International Cricket Council (ICC) ‘Cricketer of the Year’ as well as ‘Test Cricketer of the Year. When asked what is the legacy he wants to leave behind, he replied: “The legacy I want to leave is clearly: be happy with what I am doing and be content with myself and try and be better than what you are today and try and be the best for that particular day. Because what goes good enough yesterday is definitely not good enough tomorrow.”
Ashwin has bagged 292 wickets in Tests and 150 wickets in one-dayers. So is Anil Kumble’s record of 619 wickets at the back of Ashwin’s mind? “Defintely not, I am a big fan of Anil Kumble and he has got 619 wickets and, if I get to 618 wickets, I will be very thankful too and, if I get to 618, that will be my last Test match.”
Ashwin was candid about the challenges that today’s spinners have to face. “Obviously the scores are getting bigger and bigger and obviously the batsmen are getting better and better and you need to be able to adapt and I am definitely up for adapting to the different phases of the game.”
Gen-Next Kings Academy launched
Dubai: Ravichandran Ashwin announced a partnership between Gen-Next, an academy that he started in Chennai, with Kings’ Education in Dubai to benefit three schools — Kings’ School Al Barsha, Kings’ School Nad Al Sheba and Kings’ School Dubai.
In the presence of Kobus Olivier, the director of cricket, he said: “It is an important day as far I am concerned. Gen-Next was started seven years ago. As an eight-year-old cricketer when I started playing cricket I did not get right kind of coaching. It was very business-like, they used to allow us to get into the nets, bat, bowl and off.
“Whatever you learnt was luck. I think most the cricketers that are produced in India is an accident because there isn’t necessarily a system that takes one cricketer from place to another.
“So I thought I must give these kids the best opportunity that I did not have when young to be able to explore themselves, have a lot of fun and as a by-product develop into good cricketers. Why I say today is an important day because we have a proper programme at Gen-Next starting from a beginner to an intermediate to a professional. I will make sure the programme is properly executed and I will be here on a frequent basis and try and make a difference to the entire cricketing population of UAE and will see lot of you represent the UAE in a very short span of time.”
Ashwin conduct his coaching session on Friday at Kings’ Al Barsha.