Not a dead rubber: Ashwin
Pallekele: Having won the five-match series against Sri Lanka 3-1 already, India take on the hosts in the fifth and final ODI at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium. It might be an inconsequential match from the ODI series’ perspective, but ICC ranking points offer both teams ample motivation to put their best foot forward. Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin echoed similar sentiments during the pre-match press conference, while revealing that the team had nothing but a win on their mind.
On possible changes in the side for the fifth ODI
I wouldn’t think so, but it’s totally left to the team management. We are just looking to go up 4-1 in the series. I think as we go on it will help us in the [ICC] rankings as well.
On whether it was difficult to motivated oneself while playing a dead rubber
I don’t think it’s tough to be motivated in international sport as long as you are wearing the country’s badge. And whenever you turn out for India, it should never be a dead rubber.
On whether there was room for change with Rohit Sharma not performing
First of all, it’s a team game and as long as the team is doing well, I don’t think anyone should comment. It’s probably a mistake everyone [commits] in terms of picking on someone. I don’t think it’s the right thing to do. Everybody in the team will be backing each other and we are doing really well so there is no necessity to talk about anybody at all.
On whether there were any plans to curtail the flow of runs in the final 10 overs
Definitely, there is work going on in terms of death-over bowling. There’ll be a few plans that come up. But it does happen – the bowlers do tend to go for runs; we need to find different lengths at different venues. It’s a wholesome unit and the last game we almost finished with [close to] seven-eight overs to spare. As long as the team batting first or second has defeated the other side, I don’t think it should even come under question. It’s 11 on 11 and not bowlers against batsmen.
On the importance of the series win at the start of a gruelling season
It is very important in terms of getting back into the groove, to actually know that you are back to winning ways. The break has actually helped everyone to regroup and get back together. The general mood in the team has been upbeat and everyone has been looking after each other. Overall, the freshness in the camp is actually helping.
On being asked to rate his bowling performances in the series
Having entered into different situations while bowling – different people have been set at different points in the game – I think I’ve done my job reasonably well. The numbers have also not been bad; the ball is coming out really well and whatever I’ve been working on has also come out very well.
On whether his first instinct was to attack or curtail the flow of runs
It’s always been to attack. Unless I attack and get the wicket, I don’t think I’ll be in any position to dictate terms to the batsman.