Ashwin: Proteas drubbing motivated me

The brilliant 2019 sporting year that was in Singapore

India's tour to South Africa in late 2013 was not a good one for spinner Ravi Ashwin, and he used the criticism after that trip to motivate himself, and become the best spinner in the world.

Ashwin was dropped after the first Test, where the Proteas infamously stopped short of chasing the 458 required to win, as he'd bowled 36 overs without a wicket.

Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers scored tons against him, and Ashwin now says that the media critiques afterwards made him think long and hard about his efforts.

The now-prolific spinner said on Wisden India: “The criticism that came out of that game got the better of me. 

"It told me that I wasn’t good enough and that I needed to improve. It made me raise my standards.

“I had seen an article… where (it was) said that an all-time great (de Villiers) and a modern-day great (du Plessis) had denied India. 

“Yes, that’s true, but I want to be bigger than both of them. If I want that, I have to beat them in that battle. 

“But I couldn’t. So I needed to get better and push ahead.”

Ashwin has shaped himself into a genuine all-rounder, one that tops the Test rankings, and has become a valuable number six batsman, capable of saving and winning Tests.

He added: “I want to be the match-winner every time I play. Whether I bat or bowl, that doesn’t change.

 “I don’t think like I’m an off-spinner. I think I can beat anything – beat the conditions, beat the batsmen. 

“That comes from the fact that I want to be excellent rather than look towards short-term goals. I want to do more because I want to be the match-winner, not to prove a point to anyone. 

“My goal is to pick up at least five wickets every Test. That’s what the greats have done, be it a Shane Warne or an Anil Kumble.”