R.Ashwin – The off-spinner, with a batter’s mindset

The all-rounder who had a big responsibility of taking wickets, and score decent amount of runs, Ashwin has come a long way around

Ravichandran Ashwin recently created a record in 1st test against New Zealand in Kanpur – Picture courtesy – India Today

– Jainarayan Tiwari

Ravichandran Ashwin, a bowling all-rounder for team India, has crossed a significant milestone by getting ahead of Harbhajan Singh’s record of 417 wickets in 103 test matches. Ashwin has recently scalped his 418th wickets in just 81 test matches, and he created this record in the first test match of ongoing India vs New Zealand series in Kanpur. 

Ashwin was born in Chennai, and apart from being a cricketer, this 35-year-old lad has completed his IT Engineering from SSN College of Engineering. 

Ashwin came into the limelight through the Indian Premier League. After his performance in IPL 2010, he was called to the Indian team for the limited-overs (white ball) squad. Ashwin’s performances in IPL and the Champions League T20 made sure that he got the call from the Indian team in the 2011 Cricket World Cup, which India won. Finally, in 2011, he got a chance to play test cricket, where he was picked instead of Harbhajan Singh and Ashwin completely shattered the opponent with his all-around performance.

While Ashwin’s performances were up to the mark in-home conditions, his performance was disappointingly mediocre when he travelled to Australia for the first time in the 2011-12 tour. Ashwin was much better in India than in SENA countries (South Africa, England, New Zealand, Australia). During the overseas tour, cricket pundits started questioning Ashwin’s inclusion in the team.

After the 2017 Champions Trophy, Ashwin was sidelined in the limited-overs squad. This was the result of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav being in terrific form. In the 2018-19 Australia tour, Ashwin was picked in the first test, where he picked six wickets, but later on, he got injured and was benched for the following games. India won the series, but Ashwin was yet to prove himself on the overseas landmark.

In 2020-21, India’s tour to Australia was one of the best overseas tours for Ashwin, where he played like a match-winner, and his all-round skills helped India to stay in the series. Ashwin got injured after the third test, but still, India managed to win the final test match at Brisbane and won the series. Ashwin’s contribution was very crucial in that series.

Talking about his IPL journey, as a youngster, Ashwin proved himself for  Chennai Super Kings. Even though he had some ups and downs during IPL 2010, Ashwin’s performance ensured he got in the Indian team. MS Dhoni always used Ashwin in crucial overs, including the death overs. Ashwin played for four IPL franchises, Chennai Super Kings, Rising Pune Supergiants, Punjab Kings, and Delhi Capitals. The off-spinner will be once again standing in on the IPL auction in 2022.

Few known and unknown sides of Ashwin

The Australia tour was a significant turning point in Ashwin’s life. Later on, when England toured India, Ashwin smashed his 5th century at his home ground, Chepauk. Recently, Rahul Dravid has joined the Indian team as a coach. Dravid was about to end his career and at that time Ashwin joined the team. After Ashwin created the record, Rahul Dravid in a post-match press conference said, “I think it’s a phenomenal achievement. I think you know Harbhajan Singh was a really fine bowler, someone I played a lot of cricket with; terrific bowler for India and what Ashwin has done, to be able to go past him in just 80 Test matches is a phenomenal achievement,” 

Records by Ravichandran Ashwin

Ashwin’s consistency in IPL made sure that he made a comeback in white-ball cricket, and when the team was announced, the cricketing world was surprised that Ashwin was picked for the T20 World Cup side. After getting selected, he posted a picture and tweeted, “I wrote this quote down a million times in my diary before putting this up on the wall! Quotes that we read and admire have more power when we internalise them and apply in life. Happiness and gratitude are the only 2 words that define me now.”

From playing cricket in Chennai, getting into the Tamil Nadu State team, getting into IPL, and getting into the Indian team, Ashwin has come a long way in his life. While talking about his family in a post-match conference, Ashwin said, “I owe a lot to my family. Many times when the team loses, and we click photos of our families, people go after us saying that we are on a holiday. We are hardly on a holiday. When we go back to our rooms after having a good or a bad day, the family is our only place where we can lean upon.”