Ravichandran Ashwin explained his ‘colleagues not friends’ comment, revealing why it is difficult for Indian teammates to be as close to each other as the previous generation’s players were.
It wasn’t too long ago that Ravichandran Ashwin left Indian cricket lovers shell-shocked with his statement suggesting the Indian players are more ‘colleagues than friends’. While Ashwin himself doesn’t find anything ‘negative’ in the equation, some former cricketers were also surprised to see how things have evolved within the team over the years. Touching upon the subject again, Ashwin said that there’s some difference between what he said and what people are understanding. He also explained why it is difficult for Indian players to be friends these days.
“What I said and what people are understanding are completely different. What I meant was that earlier, because the tours used to be long, there was more scope for friendship. But these days we are constantly playing — different formats, different teams. One thing I have always believed is that when you are playing for different teams, it is very difficult to be friends. You have to keep that competitive spirit burning to be able to compete,” he said in an interview with the Times of India.
The off-spinner also underlined the Indian Premier League as a big factor behind the ‘lack of friendships’ in the team. The Indian teammates play against each other in the T20 leagues where the competitive nature of the game is required to succeed.
“When you play IPL, for three months your (international) teammates end up becoming your opposition. When you play so much for different teams, I am not saying friendship doesn’t happen, but it is very difficult. But then again, that is the way of the world — the changing landscape — and I don’t think there is anything negative about it,” he further explained.
The variety of formats, and competitions in cricket these days have come a great distance from the old times. Hence, according to Ashwin, maintaining friends like in old times is quite difficult.