Ashwin shines in club cricket as preparation for one-off Test vs England

Ashwin’s club MRC A have won the TNCA First Division title
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Ashwin shines in club cricket as preparation for one-off Test vs England

Highlights

  • Ashwin’s club MRC A have won the TNCA First Division title
  • He scored a crucial 81 after opening in the semi-final
  • Ashwin currently has 442 wickets in Tests

Ravichandran Ashwin has returned to playing club cricket to get used to the red-ball game ahead of the one-off Test between India and England next month.

After having played for nearly three months for Rajasthan Royals (RR) in the Indian Premier League (IPL), Ashwin played for his club team, Mylapore Recreation Club A (MRC A), and helped them win the Raja of Palayampatti Sheild 2021-22, TNCA First Division title for the first time, just four years after promotion.

Ashwin had played a key role in his club clinching the title after his all-round show in the semi-final. While he picked up a wicket in the semi-final, he scored a crucial 81 after opening the innings for MRC A.

"The purpose of playing these games (First Division) is to shift from 20 overs to this (red-ball) format...All these things are workload management. As you grow older, you play more and play smarter.

"I am trying to do that. I am enjoying my game. I just want to go there (England) and take it as it comes. I feel I can contribute with the bat and bowl well. I want to keep ticking on my fitness and keep working," Ashwin said after inspiring MRC A to their maiden TNCA first division title.

The legendary offspinner also said that he would like to see First Division cricket to go back to the "days when I started playing", according to an interview with The New Indian Express.

"I would like to see First Division go back to the days when I started playing. There was seriously good quality. I wish the TNCA pushes the game to three or four days next year. Only if these quality players play back to back against each other, there will be more competition for places.

"If we have to revive the red-ball culture, First Division is the place where we start. If you are serious about playing good red-ball cricket, both our fast bowling and our batting against fast bowling definitely need to go up. There are no two ways about it," added Ashwin.

Just want to enjoy playing Test cricket for India, says Ashwin

Meanwhile, Ashwin, who is 177 wickets behind surpassing legendary leg-spinner Anil Kumble in most Test wickets for India, also made it clear that he isn't thinking about any individual milestones and just wants to enjoy playing cricket.

"I have done all these things over the years that I feel I am in a position where I can take it as it comes. I am happy playing the kind of cricket I am playing. I do not want to think too far ahead," Ashwin said.

Ashwin recently went past Kapil Dev's tally of 434 wickets and currently has 442 wickets while Kumble is on top of the pile with 619 wickets in the longest format of the game.

Ashwin was not picked in the underway five-game T20I home series against South Africa. However, he will tour with the visitors to England for the only Test from July 1. The Tamil Nadu cricketer will join the Indian camp soon as the Test squad is expected to fly out of the country on June 15.

India will begin preparations for the rescheduled Test with a four-day practice match against Leicestershire from June 24.

The likes of Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, and Virat Kohli, who were all rested for the series against the Proteas, will return to the team. India were 2-1 up in the five-match Test series in England when covid struck the camps just before the fifth Test last year.

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