This is the most competitive IPL: R Ashwin

Updated: Apr 21, 2011, 21:47 PM IST

Mumbai: Chennai Super Kings off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin feels the current edition of the Indian Premier League is turning out to be the most competitive one and the suspense over which teams would ultimately make it to the four-team play-offs may remain till the very end.

"This is the most exciting IPL. I think that there is a value addition after the two new teams (Kochi Tuskers and Pune Warriors) have come in. With the 10-team format you can play on the final day and still don`t know the teams which will make the play-offs," said Ashwin ahead of the defending champions` clash with Mumbai Indians on Friday.

"But I think that with the kind of side and ability, we would try and achieve what we have been doing over the last three years," said the 24-year-old bowler about his IPL franchise`s chances in the tournament.

Ashwin, who has played nine ODIs and three T20 Internationals since his India debut in Harare in June 2010, said it was his dream to play for the country in Test cricket too but was not sure when that would bear fruit.

"Yes. Definitely it is my dream to play Test cricket but I don`t know when it will happen. Playing Tests, ODI and World Cup for any kid in India is a dream. I can only deliver what I can and probably leave to rest to what it has to offer," he said.

The young bowler also emphasised the importance of going through the grind of first class cricket.

"First class cricket is most important to any cricketers to go up the ladder. I think you have to go through the grind. It is extremely important to learn to handle by oneself and I learnt to handle all this. I think that playing first class cricket in India is not an easy thing to do and also playing for a team like Tamil Nadu. Also it`s the hardest yardstick to go through," he said.

He was thankful to his captains Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Gautam Gambhir, under whom he has played for India, for the confidence they have showed in his bowling.

"It`s very easy to have confidence in somebody else, but without the help of the captain it`s very tough. I owe a lot to Dhoni and Gambhir as they have thrown challenges at me and I need to thank them for the confidence they have had in me," he said.

Asked about his ability to bowl in power plays, by opening the bowling in the shorter forms of the game, Ashwin said what was more important was to adhere to the team`s needs.

"It`s definitely in the hands of the captain to have confidence in the cricketer. It is not the reputation of power play bowling or anything, but it is important that you cater to the need of the team." Ashwin said that he achieved his childhood dream of
playing in a World Cup, but has a long way to go and should not sit on his laurels.

"I never expected to play in the World Cup when I was 10 or 12 but then it was a dream come true. But I can`t sit on my laurels. It was a dream and there is still a lot more to come," said the youngster, who was part of the victorious Indian squad led by Dhoni that regained cricket`s most coveted trophy after a gap of 28 years.

He was realistic in rating his chances while bowling to Mumbai skipper and senior India batsman Sachin Tendulkar. "There is not much I can do bowling against Sachin but I will do whatever I can to the best of my ability," he said.

Ashwin praised Kings XI Punjab opener Paul Valthaty`s innings of 120 in 63 balls that floored the CSK. "Yeah it was a good innings and you got to give credit to someone who hit a hundred in 60 balls in T20. He has not even played first class cricket. Hats off to him to have pulled it off. It requires a lot of guts to do that," he remarked.