It won’t be wrong to say that not many expected Ravichandran Ashwin to make a difference during the Australia tour and was certainly disregarded by the Aussie cricket experts and media as no match to their favourite off spinner Nathan Lyon. Even before the first ball was bowled of the Test series, murmurs were that Lyon has already won the duel and it’s the pace battle that needed to be won.
In fact, the 74-test veteran himself admitted that he wasn’t even certain to start the first Test, where he picked a four-for in the first innings, and felt made it in the team because of Ravindra Jadeja‘s injury. And on being constantly urged to prove his worth with the likes of Lyon, didn’t really sit well with Ashwin and the 34-year-old spinner further revealed that’s how the case has been ever since he has known.
“There has been a lot of noise about how I am bowling and pitting me against someone like Nathan Lyon. During the previous tour in Adelaide, I picked up six wickets and kept on bowling despite a tear in the abdomen. After the match, there was a comparison between us with suggestions of how well Lyon bowled. I felt it was extremely insensitive towards a good performance. That was the lowest I ever felt in my life after Southampton (2018),” he told New Indian Express.
“I feel I have been constantly put under the microscope. I did take it upon myself personally. So rather than me competing against Lyon, I thought I must be competing against Smith. Lyon is a lovely bowler and I have respect for him.
“But my focus was on something else. There were records that Smith had never got out to spinners in Australia. I wanted to turn that around. I am entitled to think I am probably the best in the world.
“I wanted to think on those lines. I thought ‘who is the best in the series?’ I can’t compete with Virat Kohli so I decided to compete against Smith. A lot of people were talking about who will dismiss Smith. But, nobody even gave me a chance. Then, I made sure that people spoke about me at the end of the series.”