Dubai: Indian all-rounder Ravichandran Ashwin is also a brilliant motivator. By starting his own cricket academy called Gen-Next Cricket Academy when he was only 22 years old and by extending his academy to the UAE at Kings’s School in Al Barsha, he has inspired many youngsters.
Answering to a query from Gulf News while addressing a huge gathering of cricket enthusiasts at the Kings’ School as to what it needs to be a successful cricketer like him though based in the UAE, he said: “In India too there is no guarantee that a cricketer who will take the field or who will practice in an academy will go through certain ranks and reach a certain place.
“In an age where technology advancements are massive and also the awareness of the kids are better than what it was when we grew up, it is important to lay down a proper structure and show them. During my school days my father used to take me in a bike to play matches. After every successful day I used to ask my father on what’s next for me and my father used to say that I will play under-14 and play different age categories and reach the state team to play Ranji Trophy and then the Indian team.
“It used to be very tiresome to hear that because it seemed like a very long road ahead but nobody emphasised the fact that improving on a day-to-day basis was everything and I understood this only by the age of 20.”
Ashwin has an advice for everyone who approaches him. “I did not get anything on a platter so to be successful as a cricketer the most important thing is to use the infrastructure and facility and get better by the day. If you take the short cuts it would be easily found out when you go up the ladder. The sole emphasis should be on how one can improve on a day-to-day basis and what better as a coach or as an academy we can offer them every single day as they walk out there. It is very easy for someone like me to identify good talent but a road map is something very important.
“We can draw up one and explain to them how they can go through it and try and work on that road map for a period of time. Results don’t happen in a year or two.”
Backing Ashwin’s view was Anis Sajan, the managing director of Danube, who will support Ashwin’s initiative here. “UAE has the infrastructure and talent but what they need is someone like Ashwin, who I know cannot come here every time, to take it forward. Only then can cricket move forward and the UAE cricket progress like Afghanistan and Bangladesh and play Test cricket,” said Anis.
Ashwin then went on say Indian Premier League (IPL) is a motivation to move ahead. “People tend to brand IPL as some sort of a villain to Indian cricket in a lot of ways. It depends how a cricketer address IPL. Any sort of monetary gain that IPL provides is a motivation to move ahead. It is a massive move by the BCCI to do a tournament like this because it definitely gives a better lifestyle for the cricketer in terms of money. I am sure nothing brings confidence more than money brings to you. Upbringing of a kid matters a lot. How much it means to him to don those Indian colours and go out there and play and excel as a cricketer plays a big role. I have always looked at excellence, try and get better and win a game. When that is the motive I think money just becomes a by-product.”