Even as his knee discomfort worsened, Team India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin considered retiring from cricket at several intervals between 2018 and 2020, believing that people were not sensitive enough to his injuries. Ashwin, who is now on a three-Test tour of South Africa, has revealed that he was originally struck with an injury called patellar tendonitis between 2017 and 2019, which made simply walking ‘excruciatingly painful,’ and with the agony never completely going away, he considered retiring.

“I considered retiring from the sport several times between 2018 and 2020. ‘I’ve put in a lot of effort, but it’s not paying off,’ I reasoned. The more I tried, the further away it seemed’. I used to bowl six balls and then be gasping for air, especially with athletic pubalgia and patellar tendinitis,” Ashwin told ESPNcricinfo on Tuesday (December 21).

“And there’d be a lot of pain all over.” As a result, you had to make changes. I’d probably jump less the following ball if the knee discomfort became unbearable. When I leapt less, the force had to be generated through the core, back, and shoulders, causing the pubalgia to flare up. So I’d be particularly side-on with the third ball to try to use my hips. I’d be like, ‘I need a break here,’ by the time I’d finished with six balls.”

People were not sensitive enough when he was going through that time, according to the former Delhi Capitals player, and they began doubting his intent and motivation to fight, which hurt him.

“You can call me anything you want, you can kick me out; that’s great, but doubting my intentions or my battle has badly affected me. For a variety of reasons, I considered retiring. People didn’t seem to care about my injuries as much as I did. I had the impression that a lot of people were rooting for me, so why not me? That is exactly what I have done. I’ve helped the club win a number of games, and I don’t feel backed. I don’t generally seek assistance; that someone should support me; that someone should cushion or empathize with me. I felt like I couldn’t be my best self and that I needed someone to lean on. It was not going to happen.”