India off-spinner R Ashwin has brushed off criticism from the media over his disappointing returns in the recently concluded ICC T20 World Cup 2016. He went into the tournament as India's most dangerous bowler but things did not always go his way with the ball.
Ashwin was named man of the match against Bangladesh but failed to perform in the other games, and the fact that he only bowled his full quota of overs in just two out India's five games did not help matters. There were murmurs that he struggled to adapt to the dew, which hampered his chances of success. Add to that the no-ball in the semi-final that cost him and India Lendl Simmons's wicket, which played a crucial part in the hosts losing the game.
Speaking to the media ahead of the first game of the Indian Premier League 2016, Ashwin brushed off criticism, saying, "The day I went back home, my dog had a heat stroke. He had fits. It just showed me what's more important and what is very, very important in life. I didn't turn a piece of newspaper for the next three days, I didn't read anything and I don't know what's been said. There have been good enough journalists and knowledgeable people who have called me and said I haven't bowled a no-ball in ages. To have bowled one no-ball, I don't become a villain. If that's the perception, I don't know how to counter that", as quoted by Wisden India.
"When there was dew, I didn't bowl. Its better you ask the question to someone who actually bowled. To be honest, I don't know how it felt with the dew on. It's very amusing because in the first 12 balls I bowled, I created a wicket opportunity as well."
Speaking about the IPL, where he will now represent a new team in the Rising Pune Supergiants, Ashwin said, "It's going to be difficult. There is no hiding about that. It's going to be a little taxing mentally and physically. The thing about the IPL is that it's pretty fast paced. If you get in and try to beat your own odds, look for improvements during this time, it's going to help you as a cricketer and hold you in good stead through the year."
Ashwin will be hoping to put the disappointment of the ICC T20 World Cup 2016 behind him as he looks to lead the attack for new franchise Rising Pune Supergiants who play the defending champions Mumbai Indians in the opening game at Wankhede Stadium on 9 April.