When India was searching for a suitable replacement for Virat Kohli in the Test format, Rohit Sharma emerged as the frontrunner among other candidates like KL Rahul, Jasprit Bumrah, and Rishabh Pant. However, there were only a few who suggested a fifth name, which came as a surprise due to its underrated nature. That name was Ravichandran Ashwin, a veteran off-spinner who possessed captaincy experience and unquestionable abilities. Despite his credentials, Ashwin's name seldom entered the conversation. Recently, Ashwin revealed the reason behind being denied the captaincy role for India, opening up about it for the first time.
Unfair term, down to no reassurances
In an interview with the Indian Express, Ashwin addressed the label of being an "overthinker" that world cricket had associated with him. He explained that if he had received the same assurance as most other Indian players regarding a consistent place in the playing XI, he would not have been burdened by overthinking or feeling "traumatised" about his role. Ashwin also expressed his discontent with the unfairness of the criticism directed at him.
He said: "A lot of people marketed me and positioned me that I am an overthinker. A person who will get 15-20 matches on the go doesn’t have to be mentally overthinking. A person who knows that they will get only two games will be traumatised and will be overthinking because it’s my job. It’s my journey. So this is what suits me. If somebody is going to tell me, ‘you’re going to play 15 matches, you will be looked after, you will be this, you are responsible for players, you are in the leadership role, I won’t be overthinking. Why would I?"
"It’s unfair to actually say somebody’s an overthinker because that person’s journey is his own. And nobody has a right or business to do that."
Labels placed to work against you
When questioned about the impact of this label on his career, Ashwin revealed a previously undisclosed plot aimed at preventing him from assuming a leadership role in the Indian cricket team. He also shared insights into the opinions of experienced cricketers who have often asserted that Ashwin's name would not be the top choice for an overseas Test match.
"It was created to work against me, right? And as I said, there have been statements that people have made all along when leadership question has come my way, there have been people who are been out there telling, my name is not the first name on the sheet when India tour abroad.
Ashwin expressed that he has no control over whether his name is listed first on the team sheet or not. His belief is that if he has earned it, then it should rightfully be there. He stated that he has no complaints and no time to dwell on past grievances or regrets. He clarified that he holds no regrets towards anyone.
Currently, Ashwin is away from international cricket and is leading the Dindigul Dragons in the ongoing 2023 Tamil Nadu Premier League. However, he will soon rejoin the national team next month for the upcoming tour of the West Indies.