Colombo: Ravichandran Ashwin on Friday said that winning the World T20 after a gap of five years would be “critical” for the team after last year’s Test reverses in England and Australia.
“We won the 2007 World T20 and then this format has eluded us. We didn’t do well in the last two World Cups. Now to put in faith and win this World Cup is critical for the team.
“Even though we have done a good job, over the last one year we had a tough time in Australia and England. To resurrect that and actually to do a good job here is important for everybody,” Ashwin said.
Ashwin, who will turn 26 on Monday, said the team is trying to get acclimatise to the conditions and is focussed to draw maximum number of positives during its stay in Sri Lanka.
India start their campaign against Afghanistan on September 19.
“This is a 20-day long tournament. We have a couple of practice matches lined up. We will try to take as many positives as possible. That is very crucial for the team. From there on we move forward. We all know how crucial this tournament is for us.”
The Chennai lad, who returned with a rich haul of 18 wickets from the just-concluded two-match Test series against New Zealand, said it will be a huge test for the bowlers to switch from the longer format of the game to T20.
“We have started preparing for the World Cup three-four days back. We have been playing Test cricket and now we have to switch over to this format. The good thing is that we have got a week’s time in Sri Lanka to prepare.
“It is a mind as well as physical switchover for the bowlers in terms of lengths, lines and the amount of variations they have to bring into. This particular preparation would be ideal for us,” Ashwin said.
Meanwhile, left-arm medium pacer Irfan Pathan, was upbeat ahead of their practice game against Pakistan on September 17.
“I am looking forward to the practice match against Pakistan. I will be playing against them after a long time. Really looking forward to play against them and perform well,” Pathan said.
On one of his many comeback trails, Irfan Pathan he is pleased with the ‘zip’ he has been getting off the wicket in recent times.
“I’m really happy with my seam position, and I’ve done a lot of work on that. I'm really happy with the way things are going and the zip that I'm getting off the wicket,” Irfan said.
Irfan, who turned out to be one of India's most successful bowlers in Sri Lanka early this summer, has often been discussed for lack of pace, but the bowler is not perturbed.
“A lot of people talk about my pace, but I’m generally never bothered. I’m not an out-and-out quick bowler.
“Everyone has their own gifts and I have my strengths and weaknesses as well.”
When he arrived on the scene in 2003, the bowler was seen as the great Kapil Dev’s successor, and the pressure seemed to have got to Irfan.
“This is what I’ve learnt throughout the year. I love playing, but sometimes you just put too much pressure on yourself by thinking about performance. Eventually you have to come down to the level where you love the game and you just play.”
In Sri Lanka, Irfan was nothing more than pedestrian in terms of pace, but what brought him success was his ability to work out the batsmen.
“I’ve tried to learn a few tricks in terms of thinking out the batsmen.
The more experience I have, the better I’m getting in terms of that. I think that long term, that’s what I want to keep working on. I will do whatever the team needs.”
Related reports: Page 16