India's ace spinner Ashwin turns back clock
PM

New Delhi

Ace India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin believes cricketers might take time to get used the new rules which would come in place once the sport resumes amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

All cricket activities have been on standstill since mid-March following the outbreak of novel coronavirus.

"It may take time to get used to certain things. The entire lockdown and its experience is a way of our world, and nature telling us to pause, and take a back-step. Over the years, we've inflicted enough damage on this world, and it's time to give the earth and nature its dignity back," Ashwin said while speaking during an Instagram video chat with Delhi Capitals on Wednesday.

"The same applies to cricket. In the 1970s-80s, wicket celebrations meant fielders standing in their respective positions and clapping. Things like high-fives and fist pumps are more recent, so when we all step out to play again, it may take time to get used to certain things, but we'll need to adapt. For me as a bowler, putting saliva on the ball comes naturally, and it will take practice to avoid that," he added.

Speaking on the often ignored issue of mental health in sport, the off-spinner said, "During the span of your career, you spend so many years travelling and living in hotels, you start losing relationships on the way. And this is something people don't understand. I think to avoid that, it is really important to have someone inside the team with whom you can talk about anything -- I believe that is very healthy and critical."

The 33-year-old also said that the reason behind joining the Delhi Capitals was to "strengthen the bowling" and make the team front-runners for the Indian Premier League (IPL) title.

"I was coming to a franchise which had qualified for the play-offs last season, and had some very exciting players including Rishabh (Pant) and Prithvi (Shaw). I thought I could use my experience for the franchise and improve the team further. If I could help in strengthening the bowling, we could be the front runners for the title, I came with that intention."

Ashwin, whose bowling repertoire includes the famous carrom ball, also spoke about the need for innovation in modern day cricket. "For me as a cricketer, updating and innovating myself is what keeps me going," he said.

"Modern-day cricket is more challenging given the amount of technology that's available, allowing a player's game to be dissected very easily. So any innovation, however small that is, can help you up your game. I like to keep trying out different things."

Ashwin also made an appeal to the citizens to adhere to the guidelines put in place amid the COVID-19 pandemic which has so far claimed more than 3000 lives in the country.

"I think it is a crucial phase for all of us, we are seeing a jump in the number of cases, therefore I would request everyone to kindly stay at home with their loved ones, and take all the necessary precautions to maintain social distancing until we have a vaccine," said Ashwin.

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