Visakhapatnam: Seven years after he scored a double century here as an under-17 opener, Ravichandran Ashwin is back at his favourite venue -- ADA-VDCA Cricket Stadium -- this time to cement his place as an India off-spinner.
Ashwin had some remarkable performances in the recent past helping Chennai Super Kings win Champions League T20 with 13 wickets in six outings, highest in the tournament.
But it was only after selectors decided to "rest" star off-spinner Harbhajan Singh for the three-ODI series against Australia, the Tamil Nadu youngster made the cut.
The 24-year-old feels it`s difficult to be a spinner vis-a-vis a pace bowler in India but now that his time has come, he says he is blessed to be part of the side that will take on the world number one Australians.
"Fast bowlers do have an edge. India are always in search of pacers and you get a break immediately after doing well," Ashwin told reporters in an interview.
Asked whether it`s difficult to make the cut with Harbhajan around, Ashwin said: "He has been a great servant for the Indian cricket. It`s not about what they are. It`s about what you are and how you do... It`s always a learning experience with them."
"India have the tradition of producing good spinners, so is the case with batsmen. We have a heap of talented batsmen. So it`s always competitive getting in there," the 24-year-old said immediately after his arrival here.
Ashwin said he doesn`t believe in setting targets.
"I don`t believe to set any specific goal. I don`t think by setting goal for tomorrow, you will have a better today. That`s not something I believe in. I just love playing the game and give my best everytime I am on the field," he said.
The highest wicket-taker of the 2010 Champions League T20 said, "Whatever happened in the IPL, Champions League is now history. I am blessed to be part of this side, it`s really a big gift to play against the world no. 1 Aussies. They are a good side capable of making a comeback anytime," the off-spinner said.
Studying to be an engineer, Ashwin said he had happy memories with the DR Y S Rajasekhara Reddy ADA-VDCA Cricket Stadium in the outskirts of the city.
"After Chennai, Vizag is just like playing in my backyard. Moreover, I had a double century in the very first match of this ground. It was in 2003 during a U-17 match between Hyderabad and Tamil Nadu."
Asked about his batting position, the India offspinner smiled and said: "I opened the innings. I am not bad with the bat either. My ODI average is 38.00."
Aswhin, who led Tamil Nadu to Indian domestic one-day champions in 2009, has so far played just one ODI – against Sri Lanka in Harare on June 5 this year.