Ravichandran Ashwin is a spinning all-rounder in the Indian national cricket team. He has been particularly successful in Test matches, but has also played key parts in the ODI and T20I XIs.
The veteran off-spinner has taken Test wickets around the world, with particular success in India, Sri Lanka and Australia. His record in Asia and the sub-continent put him among the modern-day greats of Indian cricket in general.
Educated at Padma Seshadri Bala Bhavan and St. Bede’s Anglo Indian Higher Secondary School, Ashwin later went to SSN College of Engineering as well. He graduated with a BTech in Information Technology. It was his time at St Bede’s that influenced his love of cricket. The education institution also had a cricket academy, which he attended.
Ashwin’s overall international debut came in an ODI against Sri Lanka on 5 June 2010. The match was played in Harare, during a tri-series that also involved Zimbabwe. Sri Lanka won the match. Ashwin took the wickets of opener Upul Tharanga and centurion Dinesh Chandimal despite the defeat.
His T20I debut came a week later, when India met Zimbabwe at the Harare Sports Club. The visitors were triumphant this time, as Ashwin snared the dismissal of wicketkeeper-batsman Tatenda Taibu amid relatively economical figures of one for 22 in four overs.
Nearly 18 months later, Ashwin welcomed a Test debut against the West Indies in Delhi. Impressively, he landed the player of the match accolade after collecting figures of three for 81 in the first innings and six for 47 in the second. India opened the bowling with two spinners in that third innings on an Arun Jaitley Stadium pitch that all but insisted as much.
Ashwin has represented several Indian Premier League franchises. These include the Chennai Super Kings, Delhi Capitals, Kings XI Punjab and Rising Pune Supergiants. He was retained by the Capitals and has captained the franchise on occasion. The Capitals, who used to be called the Daredevils, are still in pursuit of a maiden IPL title. Delhi is a popular outright pick on IPL betting sites. For instance, bet365 have them priced at 6.5 to win the Indian Premier League 2021. Ashwin, meanwhile, features among many best bowlers, best batsman and player of the tournament markets for the IPL.
Ashwin is one of a few Indian cricketers who have played in the County Championship in the United Kingdom. He has had a couple of stints with Worcestershire. These periods have been abbreviated due to international commitments, but benefitted Ashwin’s ability to bowl in English conditions. At last count, his Test record on UK pitches remained modest – 14 wickets in nine innings at an average over 32.
Ashwin has courted controversy on several occasions. He deployed the ‘mankad’, which is the arguably unsporting means of running out a batsman at the non-striker’s end, during the 2019 IPL. He was playing for the Kings XI Punjab at the time. When he joined the Delhi Capitals, head coach Ricky Ponting publicly stated that he wouldn’t allow such actions from Ashwin. The stalwart Indian is also renowned for making underhanded remarks about the opposition during media conferences. His relatively demeaning description of Australian captain Tim Paine and all-rounder Cameron Green, in comparison to Indian wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant, are among the most recent examples of this.
Ashwin’s international career has been lined with formal acclaim from the International Cricket Council and other bodies. He was included in the ICC Test Team of the Year in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017 – and the Test Team of the Decade: 2011-20. In 2016, he was bestowed with the ICC Test Player of the Year and ICC Cricketer of the Year awards.
Locally, he claimed the Arjuna Award in 2014. The Board of Control for Cricket in India’s Dilip Sardesai Award for India’s best cricketer went to him after the 2010–11 and 2015–16 seasons. The BCCI also gave him the Polly Umrigar Award for international cricketer of the year in 2012–13. He blossomed under MS Dhoni’s leadership.
Ashwin wedded childhood friend Prithi Narayanan on 11 July 2015. They have two daughters – Akhira and Aadhya. Ashwin’s father, also named Ravichandran, played cricket at club level. He was a fast bowler. Ashwin junior’s personality has represented the Tamil Nadu State Election Commission professionally.
What was said
“I’m speechless right now. I’ve played four Tests matches here and this is easily the most special Test match. It gave me a hero feeling. Every time I bowled or removed my cap there was a different feeling because of the cheers,” said Ashwin in February 2021, after scoring a century and taking eight wickets in an historic Test victory over England.
Better than Ben Stokes?
His fine performance prompted comparisons with England’s Ben Stokes, who is deemed to be among the best Test all-rounders in the world. Ashwin is often included in that category, albeit as a spinning rather than seaming all-rounder. Ashwin had almost 400 Test wickets and five centuries in the same format at the time of writing.