Indian spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has revealed that in the year 2018 he had given serious thought about retiring after the England series as he felt he was not being adequately backed despite being a stellar performer for the side.
Ashwin has not only been a key cog in the Indian bowling wheel but has also played useful knocks to help the side come out of precarious positions during a game.
Ashwin said there was a time three years ago when he used to feel tired just after bowling six balls. The seasoned off-spinner explained how he had to adjust his techniques to keep bowling along the same lines as he used to do.
"Between 2018 and 2020, I contemplated giving up the sport at various points. I thought, 'I have put in a lot of effort, but it is not coming through.' The harder I tried, the farther it felt. Especially with athletic pubalgia and the patellar tendonitis — I used to bowl six balls and then I used to be gasping for breath. And there would be pain all over the place," ESPNcricinfo quoted Ashwin as saying.
"When the knee pain got excruciating, the next ball I would probably jump less. When I jumped less, the force needed to be produced through the core and the back and the shoulders, so the pubalgia would act up. So the third ball I would be extra side-on to try to use the hips. By the time I was done with six balls, I would be like, 'I need a break here'," he added.
The Indian off-spinner said people were not sensitive towards his injuries and he ran out of people to lean on during the testing times.
"I contemplated retirement for a lot of reasons. I felt like people were not sensitive enough to my injuries. I felt like a lot of people were backed, why not me? I have done no less. I have won a lot of games for the team, and I am not feeling backed," said Ashwin.
"I don't usually look for help, that somebody needs to back me, that somebody needs to cushion me or give me empathy. I felt I was not being able to be excellent and felt I needed a shoulder to lean on. It was not happening. I thought maybe I should try to find something else and be excellent at that," he added.
Ashwin also said he contemplated retirement after Australia too later in 2018 when he was injured again.
"Just after the England series in 2018, after Southampton, was one phase. Again in Australia later that year where I tore my abdomen after the Adelaide Test, before and after Sydney. Many stages," said Ashwin.
"The only person I would be talking to was my wife. But my father was hell-bent: you will make a comeback in white-ball cricket, and I will see that before I die. For him it was more personal," he added.
Ashwin will now be seen in action when South Africa and India lock horns in the three-match Test series, beginning on December 26.