'Happy to see stars' presence'

'Happy to see stars' presence'

Ravichandran Ashwin has been in supreme touch with the ball as evidenced during the four-match Test series against South Africa and the preceding series in Sri Lanka.

Currently leading Tamil Nadu in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, the World no 1 all-rounder in Tests expressed that the tournament has been a good break from international cricket and said that the presence of star players from the national team adds to the significance of the competition.

Ahead of his team’s quarterfinal clash against Himachal Pradesh, Ashwin spoke on the format of the competition, on the Kookaburra ball used in the competition and more. Excerpts.

On the timeliness of the tournament: It’s a good break from international cricket and I am very happy that most of the stars are playing in the tournament. It adds to the significance of the competition. I am sure more people will be watching the matches on television and I am sure the sponsors will be happy too that so many India internationals are playing in the Vijay Hazare Trophy.

On the league phase: One of the most standout features of the league phase was the quality of the cricket, which was fairly high. Having said that, because of 9:00 am start, there wasn’t too much planning that could go into the matches. It was a simple strategy of win the toss and put the opposition in because it was far easier batting second. Apart from a few games, where the teams made big runs, totals were generally in the range of 230-240, which took some sheen off the competition. These are not the kind of totals you get in international cricket. We have two options in front of us. Either we have a slightly later start, or the teams bat 10 overs each at the start of the day and then the team that batted first plays out its remaining 40 overs.

On the Kookaburra Turf ball: The fact that we are using the Kookaburra Turf ball is welcome because it is a far better option in these conditions than the Kookaburra Regulation ball. Some kind of balance has been restored and for us to play with this ball before we play in Australia means we are using the same ball in a match environment too.

On the Chennai rains: It has been a difficult time for Tamil Nadu. The team has been solidly behind the people of Chennai and of the state, who showed great fortitude, courage and selflessness during the most unimaginably difficult times. The least we can do is put a smile on their faces by winning the title.

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