‘What is Valimai?’: Moeen Ali’s confused question to Ravichandran Ashwin

Ravichandran Ashwin related how a confused Moeen Ali asked him what 'Valimai' meant after being told something from the crowd. Asking about 'Valimai', a film which has been in the works for a few years, is a running joke in Tamil Nadu.

Ravichandran Ashwin, speaking about the 2nd Test in Chennai, where his all-round efforts helped India clinch a series-levelling win, revealed that the crowd at the stadium had asked England’s Moeen Ali about ‘Valimai’. Speaking on his YouTube channel, Ashwin laughingly recalled that Moeen had asked him confusedly what ‘Valimai’ meant.

Seeking updates about ‘Valimai’, starring popular actor Ajith Kumar, has become a running joke across Tamil Nadu. The movie has been in the works for a few years.

Ashwin said: “There was one striking funny moment that showed how passionate or crazy we people in Tamil Nadu are about movies. I was in the boundary line, and suddenly one guy called out ‘Ashwin, Ashwin, Ashwin.’ I turned around and asked him ‘what’, and he replied: ‘Valimai update?’

“I was totally foxed, didn’t understand what was going on. Later in the day I googled it. Next day, Moeen Ali came up and asked ‘What is Valimai?’ It meant they’ve asked Moeen Ali for Valimai update too when he has been at the boundary! Asking an England player for Valimai update was outstanding, I cannot take it off my head (laughs)!”

Ashwin also spoke about how the Chennai crowd was a vital element in India’s win. He described how Number 11 batsman Mohammad Siraj was inspired by how the crowd was cheering for his defensive strokes when Ashwin was nearing his century in the second innings.

He said, “Another moment I enjoyed was the crowd cheering every time Mohammed Siraj defended when I was batting in the 90s. He came up to me and said ‘not even my father has clapped this much for my defence, there are so many people cheering me now, you’ll surely get your 100 and I’ll play till then’.

Ashwin also said the Chennai spirit seeped into the Indian dressing room.

“I noted that Kohli and Rishabh Pant cheered me in Tamil saying ‘vera level’ (different level). I think Virat would have picked it up from Murali Vijay, who used to do it when he was in the team,” he said.

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