Chennai, Feb 16 (IANS) Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin on Tuesday dedicated his Man-of-the-Match-winning all-round performance in the second Test against England to the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium ‘Chepauk’ crowd in his home city. He captured eight wickets in the match and scored a century to propel India to a 317-run win.
“I watched cricket from these very stands here in ‘Chepauk’ when I was eight or nine years old. My father would bring me here for any Test match and I would dream about getting a chance to walk on this ground or at least play one game,” said Ashwin in Tamil in the post-match presentation ceremony.
“I have played four Test matches here and easily this is the most special. What can I say…I get a hero’s feeling every time I bowled. In Covid times there was no cricket, so a knowledgable Chennai crowd came in numbers. This match I dedicate to the Chennai crowd. We were 1-0 down without crowd and with the crowd we made it 1-1. There will be crowd in Ahmedabad, so hopefully we can take it forward,” he said in Tamil.
Besides his five wickets in the first innings, Ashwin took three more in the scored. In the first innings, he scored his fifth Test century.
While the pitch for the second Test drawing polarised reactions from former players and commentators for the amount of turn it offered for spinners from the first day, Ashwin said that it takes skill to take wickets in such conditions.
“Those balls that were doing so much weren’t getting the wickets; it was the mind getting the wickets. It’s not easy as it looks. I have been bowling for years and it takes a certain amount of pace and guile to do it,” he said.
Ashwin said that batsmen Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane and batting coach Vikram Rathour spoke to him while he was batting on the third day.
“I think keeping the intent was very, very important. I was having a chat with Rohit and the batting coach about the options to put pressure on the bowler than waiting for the loose balls. The first couple of sweeps I connected, I got a hang of the wicket,” he said.
“I’m someone who tries hard, and when it doesn’t go my way, I try harder. It’s not just Vikram alone; it was more about hands and getting through the ball, think tactically and not technically. Anjinkya told me I was overthinking, and that innings in Sydney set the tone for me.”