I am past the phase of assessing my performance after every game: Ashwin

NEW DELHI: Ravichandran Ashwin, one of the sharpest thinkers in world cricket, feels that he has reached a stage in his career where he is not bothered about assessment of his own performance after every game. While the COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on a lot of people, the wily off-spinner feels, that the last two years have been kind to him with continued success in Tests at home and a productive tour of Australia, where India made history by winning back to back series.

The 35-year-old, who has taken 442 wickets in 86 Tests, also made a white-ball comeback after four years and featured in last year’s T20 World Cup in the UAE. However, he has been rested from the T20 home series against South Africa later this month and will link up with the squad in the UK for the ‘fifth’ Test of the last series against England.

“If you want a realistic answer, I am not assessing my performance at all. I am not in that phase of my life where I am thinking about what happened there and what happened here. Like I told you, I am living it by the day. “The last two years have been hard on a lot of people but it has been very very kind and good to me. So just enjoying my game. I don’t know if it is evident enough on the ground or not. I am in totally in a very good space of mind,” Ashwin told PTI at the launch of Voot Select’s ‘Bandon Mein Tha Dum’.

Ashwin, who has just got done with the two-month long IPL, will next be seen during India’s tour of England in June-July when the rescheduled fifth Test will be completed with the visitors leading 2-1. The champion spinner though is looking forward towards spending his much-needed break at home after having lived out of suitcases for five months .

“Honestly, I am pretty blank right now. We have had a long international season so not even thinking about all that in my head. I have been in bubbles forever, have got back home only after five months. It is about time I put the pause button on and live everyday and take it as it comes.”

With COVID-19 on the wane, cricket boards around the world are heading towards staging series without mentally taxing bio bubbles. Ashwin can only be happy about that. “Absolutely. More than anything else, we need to look at the larger picture. If we are able to get over the pandemic and things are getting back to normal, we all should be happy.”

En route to the historic triumph in Australia in January 2021, Ashwin contributed both with bat and ball. Having suffered severe back spasms on day four of the Sydney Test, Ashwin turned up on day five and batted alongside Hanuma Vihari as they both consumed 128 balls each to pull off a draw that felt like a win. Ashwin recalled that partnership with a lot of fondness. He was ruled out of the final Test as injury-ravaged India struggled to field an eleven for the game.

“The other game I played the game injured was in Southampton (2018) and it did not go on the right side of the coin for us. Again in Sydney, day four day of the game I had a severe back spasm I was not sure if I could really get through the game but somehow wanted to. “I prayed for a bit of of luck, that I had lesser pain the next morning, that the painkillers worked and all of that, I was praying quietly.

“Somehow I got through day four, took a couple of wickets, bowled non-stop spells even though it was hard. Harder than what Southampton (2018 England Test) was but I think a lot of it was destiny as well. “One of the those series where there was a lot of effort and that one percent luck for every single individual,” the eloquent spinner said. Having made his Test debut way back in 2011, Ashwin said it would be hard to what the team was able to achieve Down Under.

“Easily one of the best series, I have been part of. Even now, when you talk about it that feeling comes back, all those good memories, all those difficult phases we faced, the euphoria after the victory, everything stands tall even till now,” he added.