Mirpur: Ravichandran Ashwin is known for his tongue-in-cheek replies and yesterday was no different when he was asked how to counter Bangladesh's 'Wonderkid' Mustafizur Rahman, who has taken 11 wickets to contribute significantly to his team's first-ever bilateral series win against India.
Mustafizur Rahman and Ravichandran Ashwin. Pics/AFP
"There isn't a counter as such. I mean what can we do? Can we kidnap him (Mustafizur)? See it is not a media news. It's international cricket. Everybody is a professional to analyse what needs to be done," said Ashwin tersely, when asked about how to counter Mustafizur.
He did praise Mustafizur's variations. "He (Mustafizur) does bowl a good cutter, which is something we have to watch out for. We have to give him the respect as well. Respect is what is important in international cricket." That he was not happy with too many questions on Mustafizur was evident when someone questioned if the left-arm
seamer is a first of its kind that Indians are facing which has created problems for them.
Ashwin's rebuttal was a firm one. "No sir, honestly it's not like that. I am not looking to snub or anything. He is a good bowler, you cannot deny what he has done or take the respect away from him. I am also happy for him. But I think the challenge starts here for him. As an international cricketer I would know it much better than
anybody else. Now, people are going to watch out for him."
When the same question was asked differently if debutants tend to trouble Indian batsmen, Ashwin did not forget to mention that a lot of those debutants have faded into oblivion. "I can answer that cheekily but I don't want to do it. Honestly, I think they are good bowlers. Ajantha Mendis, Mustafizur, Taskin. All these guys are good bowlers. You have got to give it to them. Some of them have fallen off the radar, but when these bowlers come on it's always about a surprise element."
Is the Indian team is fearing a 'Banglawash', the off-spinner was quick to enquire, "What is a Banglawash?" When told that a series whitewash win in Bangladesh is known as 'Banglawash', he answered, "Hopefully, we will try and avoid a Banglawash!" On hopes of a turnaround, pat came the reply with his customary swagger.
"There's no question of hope. We're going into the game looking to win. Yes we've lost the series, but we'd like to turn things around in this last game. It's very important to stay relaxed at this moment. "We've had a quiet couple of days and I think everybody has reflected on what's happened and we all know what needs to
be done. The mood has got a little better now," Ashwin said.
Another of Ashwin's 'gems' came when someone enquired as to what India can achieve from the last match tonight. "A win! That's all you can do. Everybody's good enough." He further added,"It's not like we are looking to pick on anybody in the team or outside it like people would like us to do. It's the end of the season for us so if we can cap it off with a win, it will be good. We have had a good season to be honest. We have won more than 75 per cent of our games in the last year," said Ashwin.