There was a point in time when a young bony lad came to open the innings for Tamil Nadu at junior level cricket. Despite spasmodic sparks of brilliance flying once in a while, he couldn’t really master the art of wielding the willow at that moment and eventually was slipping off the ladder with other batsmen eclipsing him without any ado at all.
However, given the fact that he was an all-rounder, he started concentrating on his bowling and honed it to a level that helped him to stay afloat.
Let us all take a moment to raise the curtain and announce the moniker that we all will be talking about in this story and it is Ravichandran Ashwin, the man who dismantled Australia and England.
It was in 2006 that this off-spinner made his debut in Ranji Trophy for Tamil Nadu and such was the magnitude of superiority of his prowess as a cricketer that in the very ensuing season he was handed over the captaincy of his state team.
Despite producing a few sublime performances initially, Ashwin had to wait until 2010 when he donned on the jersey of Chennai Super Kings to hog the limelight. Making a strong case for himself in the same IPL, he bowled 48 overs and only conceded 293 runs at an extremely miserly economy rate of 6.10. What made it sweeter for Ash were the 13 scalps that he went on to pick up and a best bowling figure of 3 for 16.
This helped him to earn a national team call-up in June 2010. He went on to become the leading wicket-taker in Champions League Twenty20 in the same year in South Africa. He also became a vital part of India’s World Cup winning squad and picked up the crucial scalps of Shane Watson and Ricky Ponting in the quarter-finals of the fray.
It was later that year when Ashwin made his Test debut and it was the cue of one of India’s best spinners making a footfall. He claimed a fiver in his very debut Test against West Indies and continued with the dominance when he scalped another fiver later in the series and also smacked a century. It was a rare and yet an inpressive feat when Ashwin won the man of the series award in his debut Test series.
Despite begetting rippling showdowns in India, he couldn’t make it big outside the sub-continent. When Australia toured India in 2013, Ashwin ripped through the Australian batting line-up as he managed to scalp 29 wickets in the series. Playing only his 18th Test match, he managed to pick up 100 Test wickets that saw him becoming the fastest India to achieve this feat.
Playing his 45th Test match, Ashwin picked up his 250th scalp that rattled the record of Dennis Lillee being the fastest man to claim this feat.
In October 2019, Ashwin became the fastest Test bowler alongside Muttiah Muralidaran to claim 350 Test wickets in just 66 games. He has also won the Arjuna Award which is the second-highest sporting award in India.
Now with all said and done we will now sit back and ponder upon the fact that why exactly Ravichandran Ashwin is one of the best cricketers India has ever produced.
Before we delve further into this debate, let us all give you a reminder of the scorching form that he has been in since the Australia Test tour. In fact more than the blistering form, the titanic impact that Ashwin has had on this game is envious to say the least. However, envying the form is easybit the struggle that Ash has been going through, emulating that isn’t a cup of tea for everyone.
Despite India being curled into a ball of humilation by the hosts in the first Test, Ashwin made a resounding impact as he claimed four important wickets in the first innings and also claimed the wicket of Labuschange in the second innings.
Ashwin started exactly where he left from in the first Test and picked up three wickets in the first innings which was followed by a decent showdown in the second.
Things seemed so haywire for Ashwin in the third Test as he suffered an intolerable back-ache and yet batted for almost 50 overs on the last day of the third Test to save India from the blushes of a defeat. Despite being rattled inside out with a barrage of bouncers and short balls targeted at his ribs, Ash stood strong and saw out the day.
Then arrived England to India and Ashwin created a decent show despite the advance of England in the first innings. With three wickets in his kitty from the first innings, he spearheaded India’s bowling unit in the second innings as India skittled out England for a paltry 178.
The second Test was a burning ode to the fact that Ashwin created all the difference in the world with some scintillating bowling that saw him claiming a fiver in the first innings and three important wickets in the second innings.
He has already picked up 17 wickets from the first two Tests in the series and if he continues at the same rate, he may very well beat his own record of 29 wickets, which is the highest number of wickets claimed by an Indian in a 4-match Test series.
In an interview with Cricbuzz, Harsha Bhogle explicated the fact in loud and clear terms that why Ashwin is indeed one of the best cricketers India has ever produced and why he is the best player from Tamil Nadu by miles.
Echoing with Ashwin’s words that he was fortunate to belt out such a commanding performance in his home ground, Harsha said that it is no easy feat to achieve, especially in front of the crowd that has seen Ashwin grow up, playing it the city’s very streets, acclimatizing himself to the city’s needs and manifesting himself as one of the city’s own.
Bhogle also mentioned that the rate at which Ashwin has been swirling the ball and picking up wickets in the process, he will be easily surpassing the glorious landmark of 400 wickets in this Test series.
Harsha heaped a boatload of praises on the veteran Indian offie, highlighting the fact that how he played a sweep-shot after a hiatus of almost 15 years.
Penning down the beauty of Ashwin, Harsha quoted that how effectively he bowled a leg-break in the last over bowled of the second Test.
He emphasised on the fact that how Ashwin has mixed his variations to produce a fine blend of bowling that has always left the batsmen bamboozled.
On talking about how Ashwin is the best cricketer to have hailed from Tamil Nadu, Harsha quoted that Venkataraghavan, one of the finest spinners from the heart of Tamil Nadu managed to scalp 156 wickets. Despite the argument of India playing four spinners at that point in time, yet there is a significant difference between the figures.
Drawing a comparison with Srikkanth, Bhogle underlined that he had a batting average of 27 wherein being a bowling all-rounder, Ashwin’s batting average is 28.23.
The next name from Tamil Nadu was Dinesh Karthik who blew hot and cold in the span of his cricketing career. Quoting this Harsha settled the discourse once and for all that Ashwin is by far the best Indian cricketer to have stemmed from Tamil Nadu.
Pointing out the most salient aspect of all, Harsha said that Ashwin is 34-years-old and his body is not as fit and fine like Jadeja who brings a plate full of athleticism to the squad. He has to transcend all boundaries to deliver his art. It needs a lot more than just being diligent to continue thriving as the very best.
According to Harsha, a human being becomes great when he discerns his own limitations and surge forward with a lot more hardwork and tenacity. Ashwin is one of them.
The consistent drive for the zenith from Ashwin, the broad smile on Harsha’s face and the staggering figures next to Ash’s appelation underlines the fact that why he is one of India’s most illustrious cricketers.