Ashwin’s comeback in the limited-overs format was completely surprising. After a hiatus of four years, he was back in the blues and, that too, in the T20 World Cup 2021 squad. He managed to retain the spot in the home series against New Zealand and now, he is back in the ODIs as well.
On 31st December, the BCCI released the squad for South Africa ODIs which starts later this month. While Rahul leads the side in Rohit Sharma’s absence, Ashwin returns to the 50-over format after a gap of more than four years.
The Tamil Nadu cricketer has been a prominent figure in Test cricket and ended the year 2021 as the highest wicket-taker in the format across the globe. However, a couple of years back, it seemed all haywire for Ashwin when he was dealing with his fitness. In a conversation with renowned journalist Boria Majumdar, the off-spinner explained how he dealt with criticism in his tough times.
“As a sportsman, you are engulfed by criticism. You want to overcome that. A lot of people wrote me off. I used to walk into club games in Chennai and I used to put in the hard yards. And I would hear murmurs about people saying ‘this guy is coming and playing because his international career is done, he is finished’. I used to keep hearing these things. Sometimes it’s easy to laugh off, sometimes it hurts,” Ashwin said.
The 35-year-old revealed that he worked extremely hard to get back on track and also worked upon his seriously on his diet plans.
“I used to wake up during the pandemic every single day telling myself – it doesn’t matter what people think, but this particular cricketer, this particular character has something left. And, this is not how I want to leave. It used to be a hard battle. I used to train twice a day. I reviewed over 3-10 dietitians. I am definitely eating better, training better and more positive inside my head,” Ashwin concluded.