Ravichandran Ashwin’s herculean effort in the third Test against Australia in Sydney had come even as he had been battling a severe back pain, as revealed by his wife Prithi Narayanan. Prithi had tweeted moments after India’s great escape at the Sydney Cricket Ground that Ashwin “could not stand up straight” on the fifth morning of the Test. Prithi elaborated on what transpired on the fateful morning and how she and her husband dealt with the situation. “By the time I woke up in the morning, his pain was really bad. ‘I had to crawl to the physio room,’ he said. Luckily, that was the next room. He couldn’t bend, straighten, or get up after sitting. I was shocked,” wrote Prithi.
“I had not seen him like this before. ‘What are you going to do? How can you bat?’ I asked. ‘I don’t know. I will figure out. Just let me get to the ground,’ he replied. That’s when Aadhya (Ashwin and Prithi’s daughter) cracked her ‘put leave, appa‘ (take a leave from work, dad) comment,” Prithi wrote in a column for The Indian Express
“If only. Even after he left us, to be frank, I was half-expecting a call in a couple of hours from someone in the team that he had been taken to hospital for scans.”
Prithi revealed Ashwin had been crawling on the floor on Monday morning, the last day of the Sydney Test.
“Over the years, I have seen him handle pain and know he has a high threshold for it, but I had never seen him like this. He was crawling on the floor. He couldn’t get up or bend down,” Prithi wrote.
And while Ashwin’s pain came to light only after the Test, for Prithi, an insider, the trouble had begun on the fourth evening of the game.
“The first signs of trouble had come the earlier evening, at the end of the fourth day’s play. I had seen him on television in some sort of pain a couple of times,” Prithi wrote.
“When he walks into the room, he usually has just a few minutes before he rushes to the physio or masseur table and then meetings, if any, and comes back late. ‘Are you fine, physically?’ I asked him and he shot back, ‘Didn’t you see me bowl?!’ and said he felt he had a tweak in the back that was beginning to hurt.
“He felt during warm-ups that morning that he stepped awkwardly and did something to his back.”
As it turned out, Ashwin batted for over three hours, 128 balls and across two sessions with a tweaked back for his 39 not out and along with Hanuma Vihari (23 not out off 161 balls) helped India save the Test and keep the series level at 1-1.
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