India’s leading spinner Ravichandran Ashwin felt that the IPL provided the ideal stepping stone for domestic cricketers to make their mark in international cricket. The 29-year-old Chennai off spinner who made his debut for Rising Pune Supergiants against Mumbai Indians on Saturday revealed at length how the IPL experience worked wonders for domestic cricketers.
“International cricket is all about one’s ability to deliver under immense pressure. And I think when the Indian youngsters rub shoulders with international cricketers, they realise how to handle pressure at the big stage. I feel this ability to perform under pressure is the biggest advantage an upcoming Indian cricketer gets while playing in the IPL," Ashwin said.
Another factor that Ashwin feels helps the Indian domestic cricketers playing in the IPL is the sheer experience they get. “When a young cricketer gets to share the dressing room with a reputed international cricketer, he gets to see and learn a lot of things. A young domestic cricketer will never get to see and share the first hand experience of interacting with an international player at any other platform,” Ashwin added.
Moving away from the youngsters, Ashwin said he was excited to start a new innings with the Pune franchise.
“It’s not difficult in that sense. I am certainly looking forward to playing for a new team. In this particular franchise, everything is new for them as well. As they are making it to IPL for the first time, they need to get the logistics, team dynamics... Because you will lose a few games and that’s the nature of this tournament.
"If you lose some close games also, you have to live with it and not press forward. The franchise and players working together is the biggest challenge and the best thing in this IPL,” he said.
The 29-year-old praised the team’s batting powerhouse and England exiled batsman Kevin Pietersen to fire for the new franchise. "I Think KP (Pietersen) is hitting the ball really well. He is one of the finest players I have seen and do well in India from a foreign batsman perspective. He has done really well in Tests as well.
"He is a great striker of the ball. I am looking forward to see him bat. We will know when the games go on — I am sure he is good enough to do it. I am very confident,” he said.
Meanwhile Ashwin said that he should not be made a villain for bowling one of the two no-balls which proved to be a crucial factor in India's World Twenty20 semifinal loss to the West Indies. . Ashwin's was one of the no balls which gave Man of the Match Lendl Simmons a reprieve and helped him anchor West Indies' successful chase of a stiff target of 193 at the Wankhede Stadium here.
“The day I went back home my dog had heat stroke. He had fits. It just showed me what is more important and what is very very important in life. I did not turn up a piece of paper for next three days. I haven't read about what people had said," Ashwin said
"There have been good enough journalists and knowledgeable people who said I had not bowled a no-ball for ages and to have bowled one no ball, I don't become a villain. If that's the perception I don't know how to counter that," the bowler said at a media conference.
Ashwin was widely castigated in the media for bowling a no-ball - being a spinner - off which he had Simmons caught at point, only for the batsman to escape on 15 and play a match-winning innings that knocked India out of the World T20 nine days ago.
Ashwin took umbrage when a scribe asked him how he felt bowling with the wet ball because of dew, as the West Indies inched closer to India's total.
"When there was dew I did not bowl. It's better you ask someone who actually bowled, to be very honest. I don't know how it felt with the dew on. It's very amusing because with the first 12 balls I bowled, I created a wicket opportunity as well," he retorted.