CHENNAI: For a millennial, Aswin Crist really knows how to shoulder responsibility. Be it bearing the brunt of Tamil Nadu's bowling duties in Ranji Trophy (326.3 overs for 35 wickets, second-best for the team), to shepherding other members of their pace troika — T Natarajan and K Vignesh, both freshers at the first-class level — the speedster has done it with aplomb.
With this informational backdrop, it isn't that surprising that the 22-year-old maintained his form irrespective of the ball's colour, ending the Vijay Hazare Trophy on Monday as part of the winning Tamil Nadu contingent and also the event's top wicket-taker (20 at 17.65, including two fifers).
“To be honest, I learned a lot about how to use the white ball during this event. It's not as if I've never played with one, but I got to know more in terms of wicket-taking. Since this one doesn't swing as much as the red ball, accuracy becomes key. If conditions help, wickets will come your way. If not, stemming runs will do the same.”
With three days to go for the Asian Cricket Council Emerging Teams Cup — Aswin's maiden national call-up — his mindset before donning the India U-23 jersey for the first time is as composed as his on-field approach.
“I haven't made any changes in the way I'm preparing for the event. I've been featuring in one-dayers for the last three weeks, and this tournament is also the same. Maybe it'll be about acclimatising and the added responsibility of turning out for India,” he remarked.
“The ultimate goal is always to do well. I don't want to attach numbers to that by saying, 'I'm at least going to get these many wickets in these many matches'. What is important for me is that if I play a match for a team, I should be able to win it for them. Be it with the ball, the bat, or on the field.”
An added fillip for Aswin comes in the presence of Baba Aparajith as the skipper of the squad, especially when taking into consideration that the two have been chums since age-group days.
“Communication and understanding are absolute essentials. As captain, he knows what fields to set when I'm bowling. He also knows when to listen to my suggestions, and when to shoot them down. Not just for me, I feel he'd be the same with any other bowler. That's definitely an added advantage for the team.”
The Thoothukudi native is also intent on using the few days in between to get back to his physical prime; an area that the he devotes a lot of attention to. "I became a pacer because I love the idea of bowling fast. To do that, all the other things have to be in place, especially your body. Since our kind is prone to injuries, I ensure that a proper sleep and diet are in place during the days that I get off the field."