Ashwin is probably the best off-spinner in world cricket: Brad Hogg

Prince Singh / 13 May 2016

T20 format is considered ideal for the youngsters but Australian spinner Brad Hogg has shown the world that when someone is passionate about something then age is just a number.
Defying all odds, the chinamnan bowler has become the oldest player in the history of IPL. At 45, he is consistently delivering for his team Kolkata Knight Riders without any problem. In a recent interview with TOI, the spinner, who also did a little bit of commentary after retiring from the game in 2008, talked in length on his fitness,his retirement,other spinners and much more.


On his  fitness regime and effort that he puts to remain fit:
I train very hard. If I wake up and find that I am behind the younger guys in the group, then I don’t deserve to be in the side. I concentrate on what I eat and how I train. There were two instances which come to my mind which made me take the fitness route. The first was when I was 18 and away from home, I overate and put on a lot of weight. It was one of the situations I am not proud of — and at that time when I tried putting on my tennis shorts — it wouldn’t reach above my knee-level. That was when I decided to work hard on my fitness. Secondly, in 2008 — when I still had 2-3 years of international cricket left in me — I decided to quit. I took to coaching but not on a regular basis. At that point of time, I decided if I have to be associated with the game — I better remain fit.

On his retirement in 2008:

Yes, I do regret leaving the game at that point of time. I was part of the Australian side when I decided to call it quits. Life is a mystery and you make those decisions and you live with those. At that time, I was trying to save my marriage, and decided to retire. There were instances in my career where I didn’t want that marriage to exist, but I didn’t have the courage to leave my (first) wife. Maybe, if I had divorced her earlier, I could have ended up playing more. I went through a tough first marriage. But, in my second wife Cheryl Bresland — I have been extremely fortunate and she has been a pillar of support for me.

On the fact that pacers have played a bigger role than spinners in this IPL:

I think it all boils down to the wickets which have been prepared for the tournament. The wickets have been little different from the past editions of IPL. I feel — in general — you got to make pitches where there are even chances for everyone — batsmen, pacers and spinners — to succeed.

On Adam Zampa:

I spent about 1-2 weeks with Adam back home. I really like Adam’s courage and determination to stay in the contest all the time. If things aren’t going well for him, he is one of the better spinners who will fight it out. Adam’s will to fight it out in the middle is an aspect I would like to incorporate in my game.


On Sunil Narine’s current form:

I think Sunny (Sunil Narine) is going through a tough time at the moment. If there is one player who can have success with a remodeled action, then it will be Sunny. Despite his remodeled action, Sunny has been able to still get the ball to move both ways. The great thing about him is that he wants to play Test cricket again for the West Indies, and that’s music to my ears. West Indies have seen entertainers in the game and hopefully they can sort out the issues and players of the caliber of Sunny feature in the side.

On R Ashwin and his recent struggles to perform:

Ashwin is probably the best off-spinner in world cricket today. I am a fan of Ashwin and love the way he goes about his business. I can’t really comment on his bowling without having a chat with him. Each player goes through the phases which challenge you. As a cricketer, you do want to be in situations that test you and when you begin to come out of it, you begin to relish the sport even further.
On whether  Ashwin should take some time away from the game to sort his game?
Absolutely not! Ashwin is a class act. I am sure he will come back quickly to be the sort of bowler we have been used to seeing him. He hasn’t had the kind of tournament he would’ve liked, but he is someone who would be working double hard to dominate the scene, and I have no doubt about that.