Episode 9 | Ravichandran Ashwin | Breakfast with Champions Season 6


Why didn’t you like Ashwin when he was
in the eighth grade? What was the thing? – I thought he talked too much.
– Oh, yeah. And I’ve never spoken to him. So, this is the side that people – don’t really know about him, right?
– Yeah.. People say he sets the batsman.
What batsman? I’m his wife of eight years. I still can’t read it
when I’m getting set up. So.. I know exactly what ticks people off
and I do that for a while. – So you like that..
– Yes, I do. He knows me inside out.
So, he knows what annoys me. What’s life without entertainment?
Should I keep pleasing her all the time? No, it’s too boring. After 20 years, she will feel
that she has lived with the most interesting person on earth. We should do this show 20 years later. I’ll still be like, I don’t like him. That’s a great thing, isn’t it? What’s the point of living with people who
agree with you and say “Yes” all the time? There’s no use. Look at that scoreboard. Which match is it? This has to be the match
in which Broad took a hattrick, right? This is the game, I think,
Bell was recalled as well. That run out? That’s… Those are not
the two words you want to hear, right? – You’ve been hearing a lot of those.
– Which ones? In the last few months. Actually, it hasn’t bothered me at all,
to be honest. – That’s a…
– And if I say this outside people would actually judge me. Well, they shouldn’t, right?
You did what you thought was right. Did it surprise you? I mean,
the amount of debate that followed. – Everybody just got so fired up.
– Actually, for like… I called up at night. I went for the press
conference and called my wife and she said “You don’t wanna look
at social media tonight.” I said, “Sure”. I didn’t use social media
for the next 15 days, to be honest. But that’s good, right?
You don’t know the echo chamber. A few people did call me up
and said, “You did the right thing” that includes Kapil Dev
and Murali Karthik.. They said, “You did the right thing you don’t have to worry about
what people are saying that’s because they have
their own reasons to do so.” I’m actually a very sensitive person.
I’m quite emotional as well but it’s just that I have an ability
when it comes to the game to keep all these things aside
and be a very fierce competitor. But you know, I feel it does
prick me when people… Like tomorrow, imagine, as a youngster
you want to play for the country. Everybody, when they pick up a bat
or a ball, wants to be a Sachin Tendulkar. One day, just picking up the bat
and playing for the country or a Sunil Gavaskar, depending
on the era you are in. – I’m just giving an example.
– Yeah, of course. Or could be a Nasser Hussain
to go across the country. It could be a Shane Warne, these guys are
heroes I’ve seen growing up. And when they have a point of view
on what you’ve done… It will have an impact, so… Having an impact
or giving an ear to it or having somebody comment
on what you’re doing it’s all great when you can actually
take something positive out of it. I think you must have the resolve
to take what’s coming your way. And if it, like I said look, I believe that what I do
and who I am are two different things. That doesn’t give anybody a right
to assassinate my character. That’s it. Would aggressive be a good
adjective for you? – Aggressive on field?
– As a cricketer, when I enter the ground, I want to win every day. Just going there, “Yeah, I should
win today. My team should win today.” It’s all about competing
right from that age. Competitive is the better word
than aggressive. No, I mean, there’s nothing wrong
in being aggressive. Virat’s aggressive,
MSD is aggressive. – He’s very aggressive.
– Of course, he is. And it’s just about showing it…
It’s emoting what you are. Everybody has got
their own character, right? So, Virat is like
“I’m going to destroy you.” MS is like the ocean,
he gives away nothing. – Nothing away, yeah.
– He gives away nothing. You… Did you realize, once in a while
you used to go into a disappointed parent? In the last overs specially. You make a face as if you’ve
failed in the exam again. – Sure, I mean…
– “I gave my hundred percent.” It’s great, isn’t it? Every captain needs to entertain
the fan in a certain fashion. At least we have the ability
to do it in a unique way. So who do you really enjoy talking
cricket with? Like just talking about the game
and deep diving. I make a lot of mistakes, you know. I talk to just anybody and everybody
about the game. Don’t take these billion cricket experts
in India seriously. Not necessarily the critics out there. A random guy on the road. It’s not like I call up someone
and I actually ask them “Hey, look, today I didn’t know
what x squared minus five times x plus six is equal to zero.”
I don’t do that. Say that again. What did you say? X.. – I don’t call someone and say…
– He’s an astronaut. “This is the equation and this is the sum and I don’t know the answer for this.” So the misconception of you doing
a lot of analysis probably exists because of racial profiling because you’re an engineer, right? You’re an engineer, so, you must analyse. Analyse a lot, you see. I have a lot of questions to ask so, I believe I’m not… I don’t know. I don’t believe
I’m extremely talented or an extremely good cricketer or someone who’s extremely skillful. Like, for example,
you take Virat and Rohit. They are like born natural talents
of the game. I don’t belong to that segment actually. I belong to the other segment
where my cricket relies on method. So, there are two ways to it. But I think Virat applies
a lot of method to his talent as well. Yeah. MS is the one who first taught me about it saying, “At the top of the mark at the run-up, you should have
5-6 options in your hand so that you’re not searching
for the answers.” That’s a very deep line that he gave me. But it’s true because there have been times in the game when I’m actually under the pump. I know that I need a certain answer but I don’t know how to get it. So, I just used to write it down
sometimes because I had to switch between ODI,
Test and T20 formats. So, getting back into the T20 mode sometimes I needed to refer to it
as to what I did and didn’t. Sometimes, because you go into the game you could be found wanting and it will take you two to three games
to come back. So, do you do that… Do you like… – Sometimes..
– You maintain a diary. No, I don’t keep a diary. I mean I have logs written and kept somewhere about why I do certain things
and what are the cues for it. It’s basically like what you do in school. Aim, method, process and result. So, I kind of write down.. I didn’t do whatever you did in school! But if you had to get marks,
you had to do it, right? No, I just copied from the next person. I have done that a few times
but at least I remember that aim, procedure and apparatus
are very important. I mean, I’m glad you brought up
MS Dhoni because we are sitting in Chennai. So, it’s the law that every conversation it’s apparently a local law, right? Every conversation must have at least – a 5-7 minute talk of MS Dhoni.
– MS Dhoni.. – Even the movies are like that now.
– Isn’t it just amazing how Chennai has made him
one of their sons? – He’s a boy from Ranchi.
– Not really? – It’s in the nature of Tamil Nadu.
– Yeah? Yeah, most of our cult heros are not from our state. – Rajini.
– Rajinikanth. Chennai is one of those places
which accepts people from outside. – We are very warm and hospitable.
– Yeah, that’s one thing. It’s already warm, so, you just
need to be hospitable. Yes, that’s all you need to be. Let’s talk about your test debut. – Dream debut, you would say?
– Yeah.. I remember it every day of my life and every time I bowl. Do you remember who gave you your cap? Yeah, it was… I think between Umesh and I,
Sachin and Laxman gave the caps together. So, for me, it was Sachin and for Umesh,
it was Laxman who gave the cap. I think there was a confusion
for the long time about who’s 271 and who’s 272? Then Umesh said, “I think you should
take 271, you deserve it.” – Stuck at 271.
– That’s so sweet. – Not exactly the way it happened. He had to be coaxed into it. But, I can clearly remember
the emotions because I played 2010 IPL
and CSK won the title. I became the player of the tournament
in Champions League in 2010. In 2011, again, I was the player
of the tournament. People were always very supportive
of me playing white ball cricket for India. But when my selection came through
for the red ball a lot of people had their own reservations
and opinions about whether this was the right thing to do. “He’s a white ball cricketer
who is being thrown into the mix.” But a lot of people had forgotten
the fact that I had picked up 140 first class wickets
in 30 odd games. I remember Anil Kumble actually
telling me this. “That half of Sachin’s career went
in trying to prove people right and most of my career went
in trying to prove people wrong.” So, it was very similar. Once I embarked on this journey and started becoming the bowler
that I was I realized that I actually had to prove it to people
that it’s good to be a bowler. Because I constantly feel
that nobody wants to be a bowler because it’s actually labor-class. Whereas, batting is like first class
or business class. – It’s blue-collar, white-collar.
– Exactly. And you want to inspire people
to pick up the ball. You didn’t have a Javagal Srinath who was one of the greatest ever
becoming a superstar of India. – Yeah, correct.
– You didn’t an Anil Kumble until he actually picked up 10 wickets and went on to get 600 wickets to get an Anil Kumble Circle
in Bangalore. So, unless and until
you actually treat people the way they need to be treated you’re not going to inspire
a generation to take up that art. And first thing actually Virat said when he started taking over the leadership
of our test team was… He said, “Bowlers are going to be
the ones who are going to run the team because I think bowlers are the ones
who can win games and it’s up to you guys to make us
stars and superstars.” Yeah. So, actually, the first sport I took to
was tennis because my grandfather used to love tennis. And I used to watch all tennis games
with my granddad. And I actually didn’t enjoy watching
cricket on TV. I’d rather play it…
In Chennai, it was like this. Every evening at four o’clock people are out on the roads,
playing cricket. So, it’s just how it is. Ours was the first house
in the entire locality – to subscribe to Star TV.
– Yeah. Star TV was extremely expensive
at that time. The subscription took away one-fourth
of my dad’s salary but my dad actually got it. So, that was my first experience
of watching a match on TV. It was a 1992 World Cup game. My initial sport was tennis. My granddad and dad decided
that I should play tennis – because I had that old wooden racket.
– Yeah. I used to start tapping.
Started using my forehand, backhand… One day, I was just playing one of the cricket team coaches
actually asked… He landed short of people
in the cricket team so, he came out, he picked up people
from the tennis court like three of us. We went and played the game
the next day. The coach actually felt I was better
than most of the other people who come for cricket coaching. So he went and spoke to my dad and asked him to consider
sending me to the coaching. That’s how it happened. Because I didn’t think bowling was any… Not your pursuit. I didn’t think I would get anywhere
as a bowler. I really enjoyed batting. I just got admission into engineering when I started playing
premiership cricket. And, but once I got… At the end of like one month I got a salary of 1005 rupees
or something. Well, I said to myself,
“Do they really pay?” Those were the days and
all of a sudden I got a chance to play. I was very thankful
that they gave me an opportunity to play in the games and on top of that they said,
“Here’s your demand draft.” I thought it was good.
So, I spoke to my parents and told them I need a share.
So, pay me Rs. 500 every month. I was quite innocent
and really enjoyed those times. I was worried
when my team got relegated. Although I had done well I had no idea that people will come
and snap me up and all that. This is serious biz! This is like English Premier League
kind of business. It is very popular.
Even before our last game was over there’s one Mr. Divakar Basu he was a representative of…
He has played for India A and all that. He said, “You should come over
and play for my club.” There were two clubs.
The main club had players like Kulamani Parida,
Munaf Patel, Badrinath and as I landed there they actually said that they will
pay me a good amount of money. Because I was offered 7000 rupees which I thought was handsome pay. I can afford a bat
and also have some pocket money. And you were 18 at that time, right? Yeah, I was 17 and a half. I said, “Oh, yeah, sure.”
Seven and a half thousand great. It’s great.
With that sort of an attitude I went there and met the other guy.
His name’s Bharath Reddy. Obviously, you might have heard of him. He said, “Play for my club,
I’ll pay you Rs. 20,000.” Rs. 20,000? Really!
I just skipped a beat. I mean, my heart skipped a beat
and I went back home I spoke to my dad and mom and my dad immediately
pulled me aside and said “Look, are you sure that’s a club?” “But I don’t know what sort
of a bowler you’re going to be.” “I only know you as a batsman.” “And moreover, there are
a lot of people in the team.” “Tomorrow, if they want to go
for the championship if you don’t do really well
in two or three games they might drop you.” “So, at this point of time
you need game time – rather than money.”
– Nice. And eventually I decided
not to join that club and ended up playing
for the other club. At the same time, there’s engineering. You got into engineering
and you completed it, right? So, was there no temptation
at that time for you to saying – “All right, man, this is going…”
– It was a struggle. It was a struggle. Getting my
engineering done was a big struggle. I remember, in all odd semesters,
I had single digit attendance. And obviously, my hall tickets,
practical exams my records… Everything
had to be a tradeoff. And I used to wait outside
the staff room with my record. And people passing by,
used to look and laugh at me. I used to be a laughing stock. My role number was 14 in class. And they got into a habit of saying
13 and 15, you know. They used to skip my number
because I wasn’t there most of the time. So, there was a semester. In third semester,
I had a percentage of two. My attendance was 2 percent. Did someone say “Yes” to number 14 by mistake or did you actually… No, I turned up for a day or two.
Something like that. Probably for a few hours. My college was like 40 kilometers
from the city. And those were the days I’m talking about
something that took place more than a decade ago. See how times have changed. Transport was a massive problem. I mean, I left home before dawn
and reached home after dusk. And in between, if I had to practice I actually needed to take… There was no bus, so, I had
to step out of my college and walk for two and a half kilometers and wait for a van. Basically a vegetable or a fruit van. Get on top of it
and come to a town bus stand. And get another van or a lorry
or something to go to the better part of the city. And come outside and go into the IIT take a lift from IIT and get
into the ground for practice. And then my dad used to pick me up. He had to travel 20 kilometers
to get inside IIT – that’s where my club was.
– Yeah. And he would pick me up
and come back home by seven. And this was like a daily routine. – And…
– That’s hectic. It was really hectic. You should have just told the IIT guys “Listen, I’m coming here every day.
Anyway, let me study here.” That’s the last thing
I would want to do, actually. I-I came to know that your story
is more like… A film story, right? Met when they were kids.
She didn’t like you… – Boys…
– She does tell that to me even now. She tells me
all the time that she hates me. So, that doesn’t…
She doesn’t have a choice now. So, the point I am trying to make is… I really liked her but I wasn’t
brave enough, you know. It took me year or two
to muster the courage to go and talk to her. Actually, we had a good conversation.
I really liked her. But never really said that in school. But eventually, like, you know,
there’s something called destiny. I had been asking her out for dinner
for a very long time. And I think it was in 2010 when she actually agreed hesitantly. And before she said hesitantly ‘okay’,
I was there at the place she was. Ding-dong! And we went out for dinner. And she actually realized that I was someone quite different than
what she thought I was. I don’t think we could have dated
for a long time. It was good that we got
married very quickly. What are you doing?
She’s sitting right here. – Because…
– You’re not even wearing a helmet. Look, I mean, you have the choice
when you’re dating but not when you get married. Which one of your daughters
was born during the test match
amidst which there was a cyclone? Yeah, the second daughter… It was in Chennai.
I was in Chennai as well. I was late by 30 minutes
for the birth of my second daughter. Because she was supposed to deliver
at 7 O’clock in the evening and all of a sudden, I was doing
some media commitment and she left me a message
“I’m going to the labor room.” I was like, “Oh, God.” I needed to be there and Chennai traffic
was pretty heavy that evening. And by the time I went
my daughter was already there. Let me turn around and check
whether that’s accurate. That’s not accurate, is it? No, he’s not, right? – We should… We’ll get her here.
– I think we should get her into this. Come. Please come here. Can we get a chair and a mic? – Now we have the boss with us.
– Oh, right. – So you heard all that he’s been saying.
– Yeah… So, on a scale of 1 to 10,
how much of it has been the truth? Oh, the truth. Truth wise, I think,
it’s about eight and a half. – Eight and a half!
– I’m being quite kind. The second lead up question
that I raise is that the most generous rating
you’ve given to him… Yes. It’s usually minus five or something. Today I’m feeling very generous. Yeah, of course. Yeah, so he’s like pretty good. So, we were talking about the delivery story but you said that there is a different
version from the other end. Not too different. He had some
commitment, some shoot thing which was not too difficult
to get out of, in my opinion. – You’ve been in the media industry.
– Yeah. Is it ever easy
to get out of a shoot? – Yeah, very easy.
– Sure. I’m buying coffee, ‘dosa’, ‘idli’
or whatever you want after this. Also ever since I’ve become
a producer, it’s damn easy. “Everybody go home.
I’m not in the mood today.” That’s the line you need to use. Today I’m not in the mood. That’s like please keep
drinking complan or something. – He’s like…
– You need to pull a face. I mean, I’m not made that way.
I’m not wired that way. – Yeah.
– I like being… So, he didn’t say it that day. If he had said it, he would
have made it in time. So, you’re saying that he could
have tried little harder. – Yes.
– Been a little unprofessional. – Not unprofessional…
– That’s a good way of putting it. – As I told you, when…
– I’m just trying to be neutral. Chennai, the city, is quite tiny,
so, anywhere to anywhere should not take you more than on a bad day, it’s 40 minutes,
on a great day, it’s 12 minutes. – Okay?
– We had a really bad day. Do your daughters show the same sort of… One of them does.
She is just like me. She’s like that… With devious sense of humor. Devious is too harsh. Very. I mean, devious is right,
not harsh. – I don’t mind.
– If my puppy’s sleeping. She will be like “Sleeping puppy…” I hate watching people sleep. And when I was young, I used
to wake my father up. And he would just cater to my needs.
You know, whatever I wanted. He would give me a razor without
the blade, so that I can take a shave which I liked doing. But I knew my mom would hit,
if she learnt that. I used to do it and try to get
away with it all the time. That’s all.
And I do it with her as well. In the morning, I do it slightly
more subtly because I love her. I open the screen and allow
the sunlight in. On the one day when I sleep peacefully
and the kids are not awake he’ll wake up… “I want to meditate.
Everybody in the house, wake up.” You know what? I love to keep the AC at
16 degrees and the fan running at full. She loves 28 degrees in the AC. What? You can sleep outside… You just found my weak spot
and he’s going to kill it now. And she is actually…
Because I have been away she has got our daughters
to dance to the same tune. My daughter just goes, “Can you
reduce the fan speed?” “Can you switch off the AC?”
Yeah, well, my life’s sorted. I am going to sleep
in the guest bedroom. So, now, who are the guys
in the whole cricket fraternity that you get along with the most? Dinesh’s reasonable. I can have
a very good conversation with him. Why does he call you Ashley? That’s how he always called me. – Yeah…
– That’s how… Right from the time
we were very young… Actually, Dinesh’s an inspiration
for me. A lot of people don’t know this because he was the rockstar. Everybody within the Tamil Nadu
cricketing circuit knew that Dinesh Karthik
was going to play for India. In fact, I believed he could
be the next Sachin Tendulkar. That’s how I saw Dinesh. I used to go…
Take my father and go and see Dinesh Karthik play those under-19
and under-17 games. And he just used to wow people,
you know. That factor where he used to steam roll
bowler and just smash them. And a good guy. He’s a nice guy and he could also
be misunderstood just like me so we get along just fine. And within the Indian Team,
I get along well with Shikhar. He’s a sweetheart. He’s actually a very different person
than what the world thinks of him. He’s very planned and he’s actually
pretty smart. – Oh yeah?
– He doesn’t give that away. He actually wants people to believe
the contrary. I don’t know why. Pujara’s a very good friend of mine.
He’s probably the thickest. So, if I ask him to play
in a Chennai League game he will. And come and bat
with the same commitment and bore the bowlers
for a day and a half. – Stay…
– He does that everywhere. She’s very good friends
with Pujara’s wife as well – so we get along really well.
– Yeah. So, when is your wedding anniversary? – November 2011.
– Date? – Eleven.
– No. – Twelve.
– Dude, we got married on 13. – Wait… We got married on 13.
– Now I have to double check myself. So, I remember it as a two day affair. Okay? It’s 12 and 13. I remember the evening of 12,
standing at the reception hall and there were about 10,000 people
who visited… – He’s trying to cover up now…
– No, I’m not. I don’t know why I felt
he’s going to stumble at that question. You put me under pressure.. I never used to watch test matches until he made his debut. He made his debut and the first game
was right before we got married. And all of a sudden he pulls this
thing on me saying I don’t know if I can make it in time
for the wedding. You can’t phone that one in, bro… I thought I had a lifeline. I can take five jokes in a day and sixth one, I’ll be like,
“It’s not funny enough.” Eighth one and I’ll be like,
“Okay, you need to stop.” Then I’ll find another person. – Tenth joke and you go to the guest room.
– Yes… By the way, the place we are sitting in
is called Willows. And I’ll get you the two willows… I’m so happy, you know.
Literally, I had no idea – about this…
– Being so much fun. Devilish side of you. You’re just doing all these things
to get a reaction… I love that, after so many years – he still manages to get that from you.
– He does. I mean, this morning we did that. I get annoyed with myself. – Why? Why do I respond to him?
– Yeah… He has flighted the ball
don’t come out of the crease… Oh, no, stumped again. Excellent, guys! Fantastic.
This is amazing. It was super fun. Hi, this is R. Ashwin. You’re watching me
on Breakfast with Champions. And please like and share this video and also subscribe
to Oaktree sports for many more interesting
champions sessions. Tell people to ring the bell icon. Okay. Ring the bell icon. Exactly like that. Ring the bell… Stock market is open
and the play begins. Not like Eden Gardens or Lords,
just ring it. Ring the bell. Thank you. – Nice, Gaurav…
– Awesome. Done. Easy.


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