Team India had a very busy cricket season, as they played 13 Tests at home, starting from the New Zealand series last September and stretching to the Australia series that concluded recently. Star Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin was a crucial part of that team, playing all the Tests and finishing with 82 wickets — an all-time record for Test wickets in a season. Though the Indian cricket season only got busier with the 10th season of Indian Premier League (IPL) commencing on April 5, Ashwin got a much-deserved break as he was ruled out of the entire season for Rising Pune Supergiant because of a sports hernia.
The injury means Ashwin will not play for 6 to 8 weeks. However, Ashwin is making the most of the time by indulging in activities he has missed all this while and the ones, which of course, his injury allows him to do. He recently visited TOI’s Mumbai office as a Guest Editor for a day and spoke about various issues ranging from cricket (mostly) to politics, social awareness and the ones pertaining to India in general.
The team of journalists at the office asked the tall off-spinner a wide range of questions, to which the cricketer replied in his own witty manner. On one such question, Ashwin’s wit and intelligence once again came to the fore. On being asked about Team India stars’ fetish for facial hair, Ashwin said, “I can only speak for myself. I’m already very dark and I don’t want to get any darker.” He commented so as he usually never sports a thick beard.
It is notable here that majority of Indian cricketers including the skipper Virat Kohli and others like Ravindra Jadeja, KL Rahul, Mohammed Shami, Ajinkya Rahane, Murali Vijay et al sport thick beard these days. Only a few like Ashwin (light beard) and Cheteshwar Pujara, Wriddhiman Saha and Umesh Yadav (no beard) are the ones who do not follow the trend.