Respect for opposition is not something that comes with victories and defeat: Ashwin on Raja’s comments

Ace India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin responded to the comments made by Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Ramiz Raja, saying respect for the opposition doesn’t come from victories and defeats.

A couple of days ago, Raja had made a huge statement on Dawn News, saying that the “one-billion-dollar” Indian team had started to respect Pakistan following the Babar Azam-led side defeating them in last year’s T20 World Cup and this year’s Asia Cup in the UAE.

“I didn’t know he made that statement. But look, it’s a game of cricket. We don’t play so often, the rivalry is big. It means a lot to the people from both countries. But at the end of the day whatever you may say as a cricketer and someone who is playing the sport, you do understand that wins and losses are part of the game.”

“Especially in this format, the margins are going to be so close. Respect for the opposition is not something that comes with victories and defeats. It comes with how you are made, and we certainly respect the Pakistani side, and so do they,” said Ashwin in a press conference after India won their first practice match against Western Australia XI by 13 runs.

One of the biggest talking points from India has been the form of the bowling attack, especially after losing pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah to a back injury. The bowling attack had gone for plenty of runs in bilateral matches against Australia and South Africa at home. But Ashwin feels bigger boundaries in Australia will suit the Indian bowlers.

“Look we can get caught up with what happens in T20 games and in bilateral series back at home. It’s only fair to say the bowlers are getting hit around the park but we also need to understand the boundaries are very close to the 30-yard circle in India. When we come to Australia, the boundaries are far bigger, gives the bowlers a bit of license to work with.”

“It’s also very important to understand these conditions, the lengths you have to bowl and also, be brave enough to take those 50-50 options in these places. It’s a completely new experience, just start fresh, start the book completely new.”

After the end of the bilateral T20I series, the Indian squad for Men’s T20 World Cup landed in Perth for a preparatory camp, with the travelling reserves and players not selected for the showpiece event participating in the ODI series against South Africa, with the series decider in New Delhi on Tuesday.

“I think it’s pretty straightforward. Two weeks to go for the ICC event, and the T20 World Cup is a marquee event; we are taking it as seriously as we can. We are here to acclimatise because this is that time of the year where we have never been to Australia. We have never played here at this time of the year.”

“It’s important that we must get in here and get used to the bounce and pace. There are few guys, who are new to the team, so it will be a great time for them to acclimatise,” stated Ashwin on landing early in Australia.

India have another warm-up match against Western Australia XI at the WACA Stadium on Thursday, followed by moving to Brisbane to play two more warm-up matches against Australia and New Zealand at The Gabba. Ashwin signed off by explaining the importance of practice matches for India as they build up to their Super 12 opening match against Pakistan on October 23 at the MCG.

“No matter how many times you have been on tours to Australia and England, it is very important that you put in those miles very early on. By the time you are hitting the first game, I think we need to be up and running and also be completely sure about what the conditions are going to be. Like I said, even watching the game yesterday is very important to understand how the game is being played in this part of the world.”

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