Team India’s experienced off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has recently shared his battles with multiple injury issues between 2017 and 2019. The veteran also revealed that a condition called “patellar tendonitis” made things worse for him, including walking which became extremely painful too.
But he overcame the tough phase and recently played important roles in India’s Test squad, as well as his return to the limited-overs format, was memorable too. Moreover, he was named Player of the Series for claiming 14 wickets in two Tests at an average of 11.36 against New Zealand at home. In an interview with The Cricket Monthly, Ashwin recalled his injury phase.
He said: “When it comes to physical preparation, between 2017 and 2019, I first got struck by this injury called patellar tendonitis. It is not like you can’t play with it, but the beauty of the injury is that your knees just won’t warm up. In the morning, even walking can be excruciatingly painful. They open up as the day pans out, but you can’t jog. It takes at least two or three laps before it feels okay. The pain never really goes off.”
Ravichandran Ashwin further added that the injury initially affected his right leg, and jumping in that state became extremely difficult. And, it became worst when he was later hit by “athletic pubalgia” which was an extension of the first injury as well.
Explaining his struggles, he shared: “You need to have a bit of a jump, you have to go on one leg at least for a fraction of a second before you deliver the ball. So it became very challenging. Even my practice had started to become a bit of a challenge. And eventually the left leg got affected too, because of the extra load it had to carry.”
The veteran spinner also said: “Every other part of the body had to make up for what the knee wasn’t able to produce. Then I started to bowl with different actions. Because of athletic pubalgia, getting into a side-on position every time would be tough. Then after about ten overs into a spell, all of a sudden there would be no energy going through the body. Then I tore my abdomen, then I tore my adductors. It was like dominos. These injuries left a lot of scars on me.”
However, Ravichandran Ashwin not only worked hard to be back in action but also returned to the white-ball team after four years during the T20 World Cup in the UAE with a bang. He also shared that it was hurting to listen that he used injuries as an excuse to run away from the game.
He revealed: “A lot of team-mates get injured, but when I got injured, it seemed more than what it was. There was insensitivity towards injury. It scarred me deeply. I would go to county cricket thinking, “I should just get through the day.” That I should bowl 25 overs without injuring myself. Because if I injure myself in county cricket, I would end up raising eyebrows.”
“One thing that will forever hurt me is that statements were made about how I didn’t want to play or how I ran away from a contest. You can brand me anything, you can kick me out, all that is fine, but to doubt my intent or my fight is something that deeply hurt me,” Ravichandran Ashwin concluded.