Colombo [Sri Lanka]: As newly-appointed Indian head coach Ravi Shastri prepares for his first assignment with the team against Sri Lanka, all-rounder Ravichandran Ashwin on Monday admitted that the former team director’s presence does bring a lot of positive energy in the dressing room.
Although Ashwin refused to comment on Shastri’s controversial appointment, he insisted that Shastri is a ‘fabulous’ person and that the entire time is looking forward to work with him.
“We are well past that moment. The decision has been made and the decision is definitely something on which I cannot comment on. Ravi (Shastri) bhai has been fabulous person in the dressing room. Last time, he was here in Galle and we lost the Test and he really picked all of us from that low point on our careers and he is someone who can have a positive influence in the dressing room. We are looking forward to working together,” Ashwin said here ahead of three Tests and number of limited-overs matches against Sri Lanka.
“I would say yes because the amount of pressure that is put on not only within the team but outside, external factor and this is an excellent Indian team. If you see teams around the world, the players do get an extended run. The youngsters get extended run to play than in India and that’s simply because we do have some excellent cricketers sitting outside as well,” he told reporters.
The Indian off-spinner will be leading the team’s spin attack when he will head into his side’s first Test, which will also be Ashwin’s 50th Test of the career, against Sri Lanka at Galle on Wednesday.
Reflecting on his 50th Test match, Ashwin said that it is like a dream come true before also sharing his plans for the tour.
“I did really well last time in 2015, is like a dream come true because I was making a comeback in the Test side at that point and I got a ten-for. It brings back a lot of memories coming back to the same venue. 50th Test is definitely something that’s come about. I am not able to go back and re-trace it but very grateful for reaching here and every Test match is a blessing for me,” Ashwin said.
Ashwin also recalled how he was renamed into the Indian Test squad ahead of the victorious three-match series against Sri Lanka in 2015 and how he never looked back since then.
“I did really well last time in 2015. It is like a dream come true. It was some sort of moment of satisfaction for me because I was on the way back into the Test side. Then I got a six-for on the first day. Then I went on to get a 10-for on the third day. It brings back a lot of good memories coming out here on the same venue. 50th Test is definitely something that is come about. I am not able to go back and retrace how I did it. I am very grateful of having come here. I thing every Test matches is a blessing from here on,” he emphasized.
When quizzed how he has evolved as a cricketer, the spin spearhead admitted that he has become a lot calmer than he last visited Sri Lanka before insisting that he is looking forward to perform desperately well in the upcoming series.
“I am a lot calmer. I was looking to perform desperately because at times my performances need to better to get me somewhere in my career. I have always lived that way. I do take things in the stride. Bad days are a part of cricketer’s career. I think I have become a far better cricketer than what I was in 2015 when I last came here,” Ashwin said.
Besides three-match Test series, India are also slated to play five-match ODI series and lone T20 international against Lanka, beginning August 20 in Dambulla. (ANI)