Claiming to be at the top of his game right now, Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin on Thursday said he is not bothered by competition breathing down his neck as his endeavour is to improve himself.
“To be really honest, I’ve never bothered about who’s behind my shoulder. That’s not how I play my cricket. I believe in improving every day, and I don’t say it just for the sake of it,” Ashwin replied on being asked about competition from leg-spinner Amit Mishra.
“Unless you don’t keep improving, you’re not going to last the distance. You lose out. It’s pretty much like a business model, that’s how I view it. Somebody’s behind my shoulder? They can stay there. I’ll just keep doing what I do best,” he added
Having got two man-of-the-match awards in last two matches, the Tamil Nadu tweaker said that he is “at the top of his game” currently.
“In the last two or three months, I feel that I’m probably at the top of my bowling game. When I reach that phase, I pretty much don’t practise at all. That’s a phase I’m in right now. The ball is landing exactly where I want it to land,” he said.
Playing alongside Mahendra Singh Dhoni at Chennai Super Kings has certainly helped him as the skipper knows his style of bowling inside out.
“It’s not about what I’m doing or where I’m given the ball. I’ve been playing alongside Mahi for some time, and he probably knows where to use me and where not to use me. I’m always open to bowling in any situation, so for me it doesn’t make any difference.”
Talk about going into a knock-out match against South Africa on Friday, Ashwin said pressure will be on the Proteas.
“Most of these guys (Indian team) are involved in the Champions Trophy, so that’s one experience everybody can draw from. Apart from that, the one thing that the young side will have an advantage over the other teams, is that we don’t carry any baggage (of failures). We’ve not lost big competitions; there will be no scars with us. We have nothing to lose,” he said.
“We never walked into this tournament as favourites, and we wouldn’t want to be tagged as favourites. We just go in and enjoy ourselves,” he added.
Ashwin was asked if he believes ‘Law of Averages’ would catch up with the team after an unbeaten run in the group stage, pat came the reply, “When I was a fan, yes I believed, but not now.”
Ashwin believes that there is very “little difference in quality” between the spinners across the countries but it is the mental make-up that separates the top men from the rest.
“When it comes to international cricket, there`s a very small margin between the quality of spinners. Everybody`s bound to have a certain amount of quality in them. It`s all about the mental make-up of the spinner and what amount of guts he has in that particular scenario.”