R Ashwin had quite an eventful virtual press conference on Saturday (February 27) ahead of the fourth and final Test between India and England at the Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad. The wily off-spinner gave it back to a British scribe in style when asked to comment on the Motera pitch which was used for the third and penultimate Test, which saw the game being wrapped up inside two days.
During the press conference, Ashwin was also asked to comment on the prospect of surpassing Anil Kumble, India’s leading wicket-taker in Tests (619), after he reached the 400-wicket club during the third Test. “If you look at it pragmatically, it’s 218 wickets away. For me, I have stopped thinking about all those landmarks and all long, long time ago,” Ashwin said.
He further opined on not playing the shortest formats of the game for Team India and said, “It’s been about what I can do, how I can get better, what more I can offer to the team because every time you come back into this setup, especially now that I am only playing Test cricket, it’s important to come back and offer to the team.”
“I am looking to get better as an individual and cricketer. That’s probably one of the reasons why I am really, really happy and I am enjoying my game and probably the best I have done in the last 15 years. I would like to continue this phase and not think about too much else,” he added.
The 34-year-old has been in the form of his life in recent times. He returned as India’s second-highest wicket-taker in the India-Australia Test series (11), held in the latter’s own backyard, and ensured a riveting draw in the penultimate Test of the series with a fine 39 not out at the SCG, Sydney.