India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin said that the team has kept their fingers crossed and are hoping for things to go right in terms of qualifying for the semi-finals of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup. He added that everything he had set out to execute in Wednesday's match against Afghanistan with the ball, it fell into place.
Ashwin, playing in his first T20I match since July 2017, had figures of 2/14 in four overs to keep Afghanistan on a tight leash in the middle overs, resulting in India winning their first match of the tournament by 66 runs in Abu Dhabi. The 2007 champions next face Scotland in Dubai on Friday.
"I had some special dreams about getting to the World Cup and wanting to do special things for the team. Unfortunately, after the first two losses, I did feel a low about it. It is never a special feeling when you lose games. The chance of qualification took a bit of dent. But after yesterday's win, we do have our fingers crossed and hope things go right. Barring that, it was a special night. Every single delivery that I wanted to execute fell in place," said Ashwin in the pre-match press conference.
"The news that I got selected in the World Cup was very heartening news. I had the fun in terms of hearing the news, enjoying myself, and gratification of what I wanted to achieve in life. More than proving anyone right or wrong, it was about proving myself," added Ashwin, who was included in the squad after fellow off-spinner Washington Sundar failed to recover from a finger injury.
Ashwin reflected on his long journey to play with the white-ball for India after being dropped in 2017 post the ICC Champions Trophy final and tour to West Indies. "Circles are never completed. They keep going in loops. The perception of finger spin needs to change I feel. Ever since 2017, I was going through a very good phase of my Test career. That Champions Trophy final was one of those stations where I had to halt and think about my cricket."
"Ever since, I have evolved as a T20 bowler. I have bowled so many deliveries are so subtle that people are still terming them as carrom ball, off-spins, and arm-balls. I am trying to create some angles and experiment with different seam positions. The ball I dismissed Gulbadin Naib yesterday with, was anything but a carrom ball. So, I have worked on it and have more options than what I had at that particular point in time. When I bowl to the right-hander, I think like a left-arm spinner or leg-spinner. When I bowl to the left-hander, I think like an off-spinner. So, thinking creates intent and eventually translates into practice and then goes into the game."
Ashwin was appreciative of former India captain Rahul Dravid being appointed as the new head coach of the Indian team. He believes that Dravid, who will take over from Ravi Shastri after the Men's T20 World Cup, is someone who has immense knowledge and has got the vision to do good things in life. "I think Rahul bhai has got an immense depth of knowledge and has got a good vision for anything that he does in life. He is somebody who has done the hard yards in times when people having played the game at the highest level believe that they can contribute to teams through being coaches."
"Rahul bhai has gone through the journey and the grind of being at the NCA, gone through the Indian A team. I think he knows what is in store in the future and has played with some of us inside the dressing room. He also knows all the young boys. I am really looking forward to his stint and trying to contribute alongside Rahul bhai and being of use to the team in any way as possible."
(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)