After India’s World Test Championship loss in June and the subsequent attention on Ravichandran Ashwin’s omission from the playing XI, the off-spinner shed light on the evolving dynamics within the Indian team’s dressing room. In a recent interview, Ashwin addressed the perception that camaraderie has taken a back seat to competition among teammates.
In a conversation with the Indian Express, Ravichandran Ashwin initially described the current cricket environment, stating, “This is an era where everybody is a colleague. Once upon a time when cricket was played, all your teammates were friends. Now, they’re colleagues.” He highlighted the prevalent desire for personal advancement and the competitive nature of players, emphasizing that the focus has shifted from fostering friendship to pursuing individual success.
However, Ravichandran Ashwin has now clarified that his comments were misconstrued. He explained to the Times of India that his intention was not to imply a toxic team environment due to competition but rather to highlight the changing landscape of cricket. He noted that in earlier times, longer tours allowed for deeper friendships among teammates.
However, with the modern cricket calendar filled with various formats and competitions, players often find themselves on opposing sides, such as during the IPL.
— HT Sports (@HTSportsNews) August 18, 2023
Ravichandran Ashwin pointed out that during the IPL, international teammates frequently become opponents for about three months, and this naturally fosters a competitive spirit. He acknowledged that while genuine friendships may be harder to maintain, the shift is a reflection of the changing world of cricket and doesn’t necessarily have negative implications.
He clarified, “I am not saying friendship doesn’t happen, but it is very difficult. But then again, that is the way of the world — the changing landscape — and I don’t think there is anything negative about it.”
Ravichandran Ashwin’s original comments had prompted reactions from various quarters, including former India head coach Ravi Shastri and young player Prithvi Shaw. However, Ashwin’s recent clarification provides a more nuanced perspective on the matter, underscoring the intricate balance between competition, camaraderie, and the evolving nature of cricket in the contemporary era.