By Ravichandran Ashwin
It’s still early in the 2019 VIVO Indian Premier League, but we’ve started really well and it is very important to stay balanced and neutral; and keep the atmosphere in the team going for as long as you can. We have had a few wins but the biggest positive so far is different people have put their hands up at different stages of the tournament so far. So we’ve had a contribution from almost everyone already.
Chennai Super Kings is up next and they have always been a very, very formidable team. They’ve got a history and results to back that as well. They’ve got a strong group of players who’ve been there for a long time but we’ve beaten them once last year and we hope to beat them again.
I’ve already played CSK twice last season and being in front of a home crowd has always been a special thing for me. The M.A. Chidambaram Stadium is a ground I’ve really enjoyed playing in and I’ve spent a lot of time in there. My whole career and life has been built up on that venue. So, returning there is really momentous and a special occasion for me, I’m really looking forward to it.
Mohali - a home away from home
But Mohali is my home now. We received a lot of support and cheers during the last match against Delhi Capitals. I’ve never seen such a crowd in Mohali even when I’ve played for India or when I played for CSK against Kings XI. This is the first time I’m seeing such a brilliant crowd and it makes a massive difference when you have a crowd that backs you and is supporting you. All the successful teams in the IPL - be it Mumbai Indians, Chennai or Kolkata Knight Riders - have really rallied around their fans; and likewise we are also starting to build an encouraging crowd in home matches and that is a big, big advantage going forward. We’ve been exceptional so far and I hope we can keep getting better and better.
Adapt to win
Most of the IPL is about adapting to different games. We all know what to expect when we play at home because you get used to the sort of wickets and the ground dimensions and the sort of crowd. Likewise when you travel it is important that you immediately assess the conditions and start adapting. There is a bit of previous history to the ground, so it’s all about adapting to the different venues. That’s what dictates your winning percentage ultimately.
Our next three games (CSK, SRH and MI) are against the heavyweights of the competition, they’ve done exceptionally well over the years in the IPL. So, if we can set the right benchmark and momentum in the next two games; it is obviously going to boost our confidence and also increase our chances of going deep into the tournament. We can carry the confidence from our previous games into these matches but it is more important to adapt to these different conditions and settle in very quickly, so we can get the maximum out of it.
There are no areas of concern as of now but there are always going to be areas that you can get better at. All teams that go on to achieve great results are teams that keep improving on a day to day basis. So we can definitely iron out a few chinks here and there; but overall the atmosphere in the team is such that everyone wants to keep improving and right now it is a great space to be.