'I'm gifted to play alongside Tendulkar and Dravid'
Having made an impressive Test debut by taking nine wickets, off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin said patience was the key to his success on an unresponsive wicket in the first Test against the West Indies, at the Ferozeshah Kotla, on Tuesday.
His figures of nine for 128 in the unfinished match are second only to Narendra Hirwani's incredible debut performance of 16 for 136 against the same opponents in 1987.
Image: R Ashwin
'I had never thought of playing in Test cricket'
"I had never thought of playing in Test cricket, but, probably, I am gifted enough to play alongside the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid," said Ashwin, who took six wickets in the West Indies' second innings.
"I have never played on such a wicket. There was nothing on the wicket for the batsman as well as the bowlers. I have not seen such a wicket, which was so unresponsive to my variations.
"You have to be patient and work hard, bowl wicket to wicket. Strategically, I increased my speed of delivery a bit and used variations," he said.
Image: Ashwin gets a high-five from skipper M S Dhoni
'I think I have done my job'
Asked how it feels to do so well after being picked in place of a senior off-spinner like Harbhajan Singh, Ashwin replied, "I am being given a responsibility and I think I have done my job. I have to satisfy my conscience."
He also insisted he was not nervous in his debut game.
"Frankly speaking, I was not feeling the nerves. I was not conscious my hip was moving which way and the like. I had to handle myself and my team-mates supported me well," he said.
Image: Ashwin is congratulated by teammates after dismissing West Indies captain Darren Sammy
'Playing in Ranji Trophy is the best thing for me'
The youngster credited his success to the exposure he got in Ranji Trophy matches.
"Playing in Ranji Trophy is the best thing for me and others for making it to Test.
"The format is almost the same and you can use your variations there. I have not played many Ranji matches, like 60 or 70 games, but it [playing in Ranji Trophy] had really helped me," he said.
Image: Ashwin celebrates after dismissing Samuels