Ravichandran Ashwin, the Indian spin wizard, a Chennaite made his first cry on Sep 17, 1986. This right-arm-off spin bowling all-rounder was born into a Tamil Brahmin family. His father, Ravichandran is a former club-level cricketer who worked in Southern railways. His mother Chitra is a housewife and seems like a well-educated person. Ashwin did his schooling in Padma Seshadri Bala Bhavan and St. Bede’s Anglo Indian Higher Secondary School. He did his UG-B.Tech IT in Sri Sivasubramaniya Nadar College of Engineering (SSN). While supported his cricketing career, Ashwin’s parents were firm about his education as well. “We never compromise on education and Ashwin was mature enough to understand that”, his mother said.
Ashwin tied the knot with his childhood friend Prithi Narayanan on Nov 13, 2011; they became parents of a girl baby named Akhira on July 11, 2015 and their second daughter Aadhya was born on Dec 21, 2016. He loves to watch movies, listening to music, and do mentorship in his dad’s coaching academy, the Gen-Next Cricket Institute.
Ashwin realized his calling for cricket at the age of 5 years. The Indian spin wizard had not started his career as a spin bowler but a fast bowler! As he grew up, he started to play in school matches as an opening batsman too; In fact, he scored a double century in one of his school matches. He also used to open the innings for India under 17’s as well but he was replaced by Rohit Sharma due to lack of form. The major reason for his deteriorated form was a severe injury in his pelvic area that he got when was 14. The horrific injury put him bed rest for two months and he was not able to play for almost eight months. When he got back to the game his spot had been claimed, so his mother suggested trying his hand in spin bowling. As they say, the rest is history.
He was lucky enough to taste the victory in his Ranji Trophy debut. Ashwin made his Indian Premier League (IPL) debut for Chennai Super Kings (CSK) on April 18, 2009; he took two wickets in two matches in that year. He sounded very happy and elated. He immediately emerged as MSD’s trump card in the subsequent seasons. From then on, he dominated and contributed very well for his team—helped CSK win two consecutive IPL titles in 2010 and 2011.
“IPL and CSK is the stage that everyone wants. For me, it was more about recognition.”-Ashwin
After his impressive performance in 2010 IPL, he made his ODI debut under Suresh Raina’s captaincy on June 5, 2010, in which he scored 38 runs and took 2 wickets. His T20 debut was on June 12, 2010, in which he took one wicket. On Nov 6, 2011, he made his test debut against West Indies under MS Dhoni’s captaincy; he helped the team win by 5 wickets with his maiden 5 wicket haul.
“MS Dhoni had a massive influence on me”-Ashwin
He was drafted into Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) after the ban of CSK for the seasons 2016 and 2017. He had to miss the 2017 IPL season due to sports hernia. In the subsequent IPL seasons, he represented Kings XI Punjab (KXIP). Ashwin shifted to Delhi Capitals (DC) in 2020 IPL through the trading and transfer window; even in the 2021 IPL auction, he was retained by DC.
Despite having several variations, the spin wizard often never failed to use his carom ball, also known as sodukku ball, to bamboozle the opponent. He revealed in an interview with Cricbuzz that he learned the carrom ball from a local guy named SK while playing tennis ball cricket.
Definitely, Ashwin is India’s best leading spinner in the post-Anil Kumble era. Even though he looked as more of a T20 bowler, now he has emerged as a terrific test bowler. Everyone could have witnessed his magical spell in the recent India tour of Australia. Despite having the psychological impact caused by bio-bubble and verbal abuses from the Australian team, Ashwin and the boys did really well with the historic Gabba win; Performances of Ravichandran Ashwin, Cheteshwar Pujara, T.Natarajan, Washington Sundar, Mohammed Siraj, and captaincy of Rahane were the moments of the series.
R Ashwin bagged Arjuna Award in 2014, the ICC Cricketer of the Year and Test Player of the year in 2016, the CEAT International Cricketer of the Year 2016–17, and numerous milestones because of his brave decision to pursue his passion over his well-paid job offer. Finally, hard work and dedication paid off.