CHENNAI: Ravichandran Ashwin and India Cements are in advanced talks to reunite after a gap of four years, as Vijay CC gets ready to welcome back one of its most decorated cricketers. Express understands that the deal will be reached once the COVID- 19 situation improves.
There are also indications that the off-spinner with 365 Test wickets will double up as captaincum- mentor of Tamil Nadu in the domestic season. In 2016, Ashwin had left India Cements, which apart from running Vijay CC that plays in the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association’s first division league, also owns Chennai Super Kings.
After spending a couple of years with Chemplast, Ashwin had moved to TAKE Solutions — which runs Mylapore RC (A) — in 2018. It is understood that the move was supposed to get finalised as early as March after the end of the league. But with knockout games yet to be played and no decision on resumption, the move hasn’t materialised as yet. While India Cements has put on hold all recruitment because of the current situation, they are ready to make an exception for Ashwin. Ashwin and India Cements were tightlipped about the development.
Ranji captain cum mentor?
Tamil Nadu, chasing a first Ranji title since 1988, are also exploring the possibility of handing over the reigns to Ashwin. While D Vasu will continue as coach, one expects a few changes. Ashwin, who has previously led the side, might be handed over the captaincy. ICC’s Cricketer of the Year in 2016, he had called for structural and cultural changes in the Tamil Nadu side after their league-stage exit from Ranji Trophy last season.
Ashwin has made it clear that winning the elusive title with Tamil Nadu is among his priorities. In fact, speaking after the team’s early exit last season, Ashwin had said, “We need to change our culture and all of us have to do it. TNCA, players, coaches, selectors should all move in one direction. We have to plan ahead and invest in the right players no matter what.” Ashwin has been using the time spent indoors discussing how to improve the side.
He has been anchoring a weekly You- Tube show titled “Formula For Success With Ash” which focuses on how Tamil Nadu can win Ranji with Mumbai stalwarts Amol Muzumdar and Wasim Jaffer sharing their experience of winning the title. Given his cricketing acumen and his experience of playing at the highest level, one can bank on Ashwin to guide Tamil Nadu which has been falling short of expected standards.