'Colleagues, not friends' - R Ashwin explains thought behind controversial remarks

The ace Indian spinner had said the vibe within the current set-up between players is that of colleagues more than friends. 
 
R Ashwin

Ravichandran Ashwin recently sent a shockwave amidst the Indian cricket fandom by stating the vibe in the current times between players is more of colleagues, not friends. The great off-spinner triggered a controversy about the dressing room environment, with claims on the outside that all is not right amongst the current Indian cricketers. 

Given that Ashwin's remarks came after his infamous and contentious sacking from India's playing XI for the World Test Championship (WTC) final in England, the statement immediately caught attention and polarised opinions. 

While some took the legendary spinner's side, many were left curious why the statement was being made. For them, Ashwin has now explained what exactly he meant when he suggested there are more colleagues within the Indian team dressing room these days than friends. 

Speaking to the Times of India, the 36-year-old experienced tweaker said the co-existence of colleagues and not friends is an indirect result of the Indian team undergoing regular changes, with players being rested and rotated across formats in an extremely busy calendar. 

Ashwin explains viral 'colleagues, not friends' statement 

Ashwin insisted since players of the current set-up hardly get to spend enough time with each other while juggling through Tests, ODIs and T20Is, there tends to be an invisible barrier which doesn't allow them to connect and form bonds to the levels that Indian cricketers once did. 

The great cricketer also pointed towards the constantly rising competition for spots as a cause for such a situation, explaining it becomes almost necessary for players to develop and sustain a competitive vibe to ensure their careers flourish. 

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"What I said and what people are understanding are completely different. What I meant was that earlier, because the tours used to be long, there was more scope for friendship. But these days we are constantly playing --- different formats, different teams," Ashwin said. 

"One thing I have always believed is that when you are playing for different teams, it is very difficult to be friends. You have to keep that competitive spirit burning to be able to compete," he added.