Updated March 5th, 2024 at 17:39 IST

Anil Kumble says 'they doubt your credentials' in front of R Ashwin; Anna comes up with EPIC answer

IND vs ENG: R Ashwin was asked by Anil Kumble about how he feels when his credentials have been doubted despite taking more than 500 wickets for Team India.

Anil Kumble with R Ashwin | Image:Jio Cinema
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R Ashwin is on the verge of a huge achievement in his already illustrious career. Ashwin will play his 100th Test match for India when he takes the field in Dharamsala to represent his country in the IND vs ENG 5th Test. Ashwin has been stalwart for Team India in Test cricket with more than 500 wickets but he dropped a bombshell statement when asked to reflect on his career by Anil Kumble.

During an interaction with Indian cricket legend and former IND captain Kumble, Ashwin was asked how he feels when his credentials have been doubted in overseas conditions despite taking more than 500 wickets for Team India. Ashwin minced no words as he said that he did feel that he had been treated unfairly by the Indian captains. Here's the full conversation between Ashwin and Kumble:-

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ALSO READ | 'THAT series taught me what to correct in my game': R Ashwin names the 'turning point' of his career

IND vs ENG: Ashwin questions Indian team management

Anil Kumble: “I absolutely believe your 100th Test match should have come much earlier. That’s how I feel because every time India go out and play in England, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, you have not played enough. The batters are the same, they tend to adapt to any condition but as a leading bowler, they sort of doubt your credentials of adapting to any condition. So how does that feel?”

R Ashwin: “I don’t want to sound controversial. I can compare this to a lot of other things that are happening in the world right now. But I genuinely do feel that bowlers play second-fiddle to the batters. That’s because probably, batters just get that one chance. I mean you are knocked out; you are out. This used to play on my mind constantly: Why is it that I get one game to fail and why is it that somebody else gets more games to fail? Eventually I have made peace with the fact that the team needs to win. Even when I am not playing and the team wins after five days, I am the most delighted person in the dressing room. When I was young, all I wanted to do was wear the India jersey for one day. Just because of who I am today, I cannot put my selfish interest ahead of the team. Yes, there have been disappointing days, but I have learnt how to deal with it, and I am extremely happy that I played alongside some of the great cricketers that India has ever produced.”

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India vs England: Ashwin names the turning point of his career

On the cusp of completing 100 Tests, Ashwin also said he would not have become the bowler that he is now without the learnings from an underwhelming home series against England in 2012, at the end of which he was a "bit nervy".

That series loss remains India's last defeat at home and Ashwin's performance in the four-match rubber left a lot to be desired as the likes of Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen played him with ease.

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Twelve years later, Ashwin looked back at the turning point of his remarkable career, which now features over 507 Test wickets.

"It is a pretty big occasion. More than the destination, the journey has been very special. It is a journey of ups and downs and a lot of learnings," said Ashwin, who will become only the 14th Indian to reach the 100-Test milestone when the final Test begins here on Thursday.

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"One of the turning points of my life was the England series when Cook came here and made all those runs. It has been talked about a lot but to me that and what led to the next home series against Australia (changed a lot for me).

"There was lot of noise about me being left out of the team, one of the selectors had a chat with me. At that time I was a bit nervy though I don't know where it came from as I had done well previously," he recalled.

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The criticism of his performance -- 14 wickets at an average of 52.64 in four Tests -- is still fresh in his mind but more importantly, he hasn't forgotten the lessons.

"When I went back and reflected on it after all those articles written about me, it dawned upon me that what was wrong with me. That is a wonderful lesson that has been kept with me all these years down the line.

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"When I look back it, it taught me what I had to correct. Some of those questions were raised by me largely," said the 37-year-old.

(with PTI inputs)

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Published March 5th, 2024 at 15:50 IST