Every Test is a blessing, says Ashwin
Galle, Sri Lanka - Galle is not a place easy to forget. Not if your Test career, which is now in full flow, underwent a resurgence here. Not if you are coming back to play your 50th Test here.
R Ashwin, looking destined to threaten India's bowling records, will turn 50 Tests old on Wednesday. He was glad that he was reaching the milestone at the Galle International Stadium.
"To come back to a place where I did really well last time in 2015 is like a dream come true because it was some sort of a momentous occasion for me then because I was on the way back into the Test side and I got a six-for on the first day and went on to get a ten-for on the third day," Ashwin said.
"It brings back a lot of good memories, coming back to the same venue. And 50th Test is definitely something that has come about. I am not able to go back and retrace how I did it but I am very grateful to have gotten here. I think every Test match is a blessing from here on."
From Galle to Galle, Ashwin said he has become a more rounded cricketer and person. "For starters, I'm a lot calmer from what I was then," he said.
"I think I was a little bit more like a cat on a hot tin roof, so to say. I was looking forward to performing desperately because sometimes my performances need to be that much more better for me to get anywhere in my career, so I've always lived that way and it's kind of changed me over a period of time.
"I do take things in the stride - fairly bad days, ordinary days and mediocre days are a part of a cricketer's career. It's important to learn from that and try and get better. I think I've become a far better cricketer than what I was when I came here in 2015. I just hope that if at all I come back again, I would be a far better cricketer than what I am today."
One of the lessons he has learned, Ashwin said, was to not set himself too many targets. "Looking behind, I might have set some targets but I won't be setting any targets looking ahead," he said.
"That's what the past has taught me. You can't get ahead of yourself, you can't set milestones, you can't set records for yourself in the future. The most important thing is to try and get better every single day because international cricket is very cruel and it can really sort you out if you are sitting back on your past laurels. It's very important to put it behind. It is very important to take one Test match and one day at a time."