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‘Player can give his life for Rohit’: Ashwin’s million dollar praise

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NEW DELHI:

Ravichandran Ashwin

has always held a deep respect for

Rohit Sharma

, not only as an exceptional leader but also for the Indian skipper’s compassionate and humane qualities. This became evident to the spinner firsthand when his mother, Chitra, was hospitalized during the third Test in Rajkot.
In a society where self-interest often takes precedence, Rohit’s leadership shines through with his empathy and generous heart.

Ashwin believes that these qualities inspire teammates to give their all for him. This sentiment is particularly poignant for Ashwin, who had to hastily return to Chennai shortly after achieving his 500th Test wicket.

On his Tamil YouTube channel, Ashwin recollected the horrifying 48 hours of his life, which also stood out for camaraderie and brotherhood amongst teammates.
“I was crying in my room and as I wasn’t picking calls and Rohit and Rahul (Dravid) bhai came to check on me and all I told them was I couldn’t think clearly.
“I am a part of the XI and the game hangs in a balance and if I leave the squad, they will be left with 10 people against a full-strength squad. At the other end, I was thinking about the last time I spoke to my mother,” an emotional Ashwin vividly recollected the incidents on that fateful evening in Rajkot.

“I just wanted to leave and see her and I asked the doctor how she was and if she was conscious. The doctor apparently told me she was not in a position to be seen and I was tearing up and searching for a flight and I couldnt get one,” he spoke about his helplessness.
Ashwin later realised that what Rohit had done was unthinkable.
“Rajkot airport closes at 6 pm and there are no flights after that and I didn’t know what to do. Rohit literally asked me to stop thinking, and leave to be there with my family, and he was trying to arrange a charter flight for me,” Ashwin said.

He also thanked

Cheteshwar Pujara

, who came down from Ahmedabad to Rajkot and flew to Chennai with him.
But what actually left Ashwin emotional was how Rohit asked one of the team physios, Kamlesh Jain, to leave the Test match and fly with him to Chennai, so that he wasn’t left alone with negative thoughts.
“Rohit asked Kamlesh, who is a good friend of mine to travel with me to Chennai and be with me. He was one of the two physios and I convinced him to stay there but when I went down the security check, Kamlesh was already waiting there,” Ashwin said.
“It was Rohit who called Kamlesh and asked to come and be with me and check on me during this tough time. It was 9:30 pm and I was just gobsmacked, I couldn’t even think about it and two people (Kamlesh and Pujara), they were the ones I could talk to here. What if I had no one to talk to at that moment,” Ashwin said.
Ashwin said that had he been skipper, he would have done the same but wondered if he would have taken the pains to arrange a charter flight or ask a team support staff to check on a player? He doesn’t think so.
“I just thought even if I were the captain, I would tell my player to go back home and there are no second thoughts about it, but will I call up people to check on him? I don’t know. Unbelievable, and I saw an outstanding leader in Rohit that day,” said Ashwin.
As a leader, Rohit’s IPL achievements are on par with MS Dhoni but Ashwin believes that God has bigger plans for a human being of his kind.
“I can’t quite put my finger on it as I have played under several captains and leaders but it is his good that has made him what he is today, he’s won five IPL titles and is on par with Dhoni, and it’s not an easy thing that Dhoni has done. He should get something bigger than all that, which God will give him,” the 37-year-old said.
Ashwin literally choked when he said his respect for Rohit had grown following the gesture.
“In a selfish society, where man thinks about himself, thinking for someone else’s wellbeing is a rarity. My respect for him grew tremendously after that. I already respect him as a leader, he backs player without a question till the last moment; not easy to do that.”
His final statement was a testimony to what place Rohit holds in the hearts of his teammates.
“He takes 10 steps for a player and a player can give his life for him,” he said.
(With inputs from PTI)

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