"If I don't get many wickets, I have something to work on"

Chennai, Aug. 18 -- Off-spinner R Ashwin is gearing up for fresh battles after a well-deserved break from India duties. The 26-year-old spoke to HT on the sidelines of the all-India Buchi Babu tournament where he is leading the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association XI.

Making changes to the game

I have been working hard on my training. Only a break will actually make you stronger; during the season it is very hard, your fitness levels keep dropping. I have also been working on a few glitches in my batting with some technical assistance.

On adapting to different format

Most of the time, the approach is very mental. You have to make sure the shutdown balls in a T20 game become more evident, and in a one-day game you have more time to attack. It is in Tests where you control a batsman. And in the longest-format, you have to switch off (everything else) and only look for wickets.

Always seen as an attacking bowle

I look for wickets as much as a batsman goes out to pick runs. A 100 is a big number compared to ten wickets one can get in an innings. Personally, nothing less than five wickets (in an innings) is a settling factor. If I don't get that many wickets, I have something to work on and look to improve in the next innings.

Rapid rise into a senior team member

I believe in leading without a title and contributing to the team in any fashion possible. But for that I need to do well. Unless I perform, I have no role in telling anyone what they have to do.

Mental preparation

It all boils to one point - looking to excel. I started playing (competitive) cricket at the age of seven and spent around 15 years before I made anything out of it. For an engineer, he studies for four years and gets a job. It is not the same for me. I have done years of good work. I have to keep on improving and growing and that's where mental toughness sets in.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.

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