Teams Played For
India, Board Presidents XI, Chennai Super Kings, Tamil Nadu, Indians, Rising Pune Supergiant, Dindigul Dragons, Worcestershire, Kings XI Punjab, India A, Rest of India, Nottinghamshire, Delhi Capitals
A street smart cricketer, Ravichandran Ashwin is one of the best exponents of carrom ball at the moment. He burst onto the scene at the 2009 IPL in South Africa, where the right-arm off-break bowler impressed everyone with his variations on the South African pitches.
A consistent season at the domestic level meant that Ashwin received his first-ever BCCI contract in 2010, and when Harbhajan Singh opted out of the two-match Test series against South Africa, Ashwin got a chance to fill in his boots, but unfortunately, he did not get a chance to make his India debut.
Chennai Super Kings won the IPL in 2010, and Ashwin was one of the key performers for MS Dhoni’s team with 13 wickets at a decent economy rate in the tournament. As a result, the off-spinner finally made his ODI debut in June 2010, when team India decided to experiment with their squad depth for the tri-nation tournament, featuring Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka.
After constantly being in and out of the squad, Ashwin was picked in the Indian squad for the 2011 World Cup. He played only two matches in the tournament and picked up 4 wickets as the Men in Blue won the World Cup for the second time.
Impressive performance in the shorter format meant that Ashwin was always knocking on the doors of the selectors for a place in the Test squad. His chance came towards the end of 2011 in the home series against the Windies. Ashwin had a dream start to his Test career as he scalped 22 wickets in the three-match series, and scored his maiden Test ton in the third match of the series. For his all-round performance, Ashwin was declared the player of the series.
The wily off-spinner was given an extended Test run and was adjudged the man of the series in the 2013 Border-Gavaskar series, which India won 4-0. He picked up 29 wickets and completely bamboozled the Aussies with his variation. In the process, he became the third Indian off-spinner to take 25-plus wickets in a series, after Harbhajan Singh (32) and Erapalli Prasanna (26).
In the year 2013, Ashwin was the key to India’s success in the Champions Trophy. The spinner picked up 8 wickets in 4 matches, including 2 crucial wickets in the rail-curtailed final against hosts England.
He continued his excellent start in Test cricket in the home series against West Indies. Ashwin again showed his all-round abilities with his second ton against the Windies and stitched a record seventh-wicket partnership of 280, alongside Rohit Sharma. He finished the two-match series with 154 runs and also took 12 wickets.
Later that year, India toured South Africa, and Ashwin struggled with his bowling. He picked up only 1 wicket in the three-match ODI series and took just a solitary wicket in the first Test at Johannesburg.
His struggles continued in the away series against the Kiwis in 2014 as the Tamil Nadu man managed to pick up just a single wicket in the five-match ODI series, which India lost 4-0.
However, in the third ODI of the series, coming into bat at 146/5, Ashwin scored his maiden ODI half-century, and shared an 85-run partnership for the seventh-wicket alongside Ravindra Jadeja, as the match eventually ended in a tie.
Ashwin was a part of India’s Test team to tour England. He struggled with his line and length in the series but was back to his best in the ODI series that followed. He picked up 7 wickets in 4 matches at an average of less than 25.
For the Border-Gavaskar series down under, debutante Karn Sharma was preferred over R Ashwin in the first Test at Adelaide. After an unimpressive debut by the youngster, Ashwin was back in the Test team for the second match and finished the series with 12 wickets to his name.
Ashwin was selected to be a part of India’s ODI squad for the World Cup in 2015. He was very impressive with variations, especially the carrom ball as the spinner finished the tournament with 13 wickets and helped India reach the semi-finals of the tournament.
Post the 2015 World Cup, India travelled to Sri Lanka for a three-match Test series. The spinning tracks offered in Sri Lanka, benefited Ashwin, as he was at his devastating best with the ball, picking up 21 wickets in the series. He broke the record for most wickets scalped by an Indian spinner against Sri Lanka. His monumental efforts led him to achieve the number 1 ranking in the ICC Test bowling rankings for 2015.
Later that year, South Africa toured India, and in the four-match Test series, Ashwin became the fastest Indian to reach 150 wickets in Test matches. Ashwin tore apart the South African batting and took 31 wickets in the four-match series. South African batters had no answer to Ashwin’s bowling on India’s turning tracks.
In December 2016, International Cricket Council awarded Ashwin with the ICC Test player of the year award for taking a whopping 72 wickets in the calendar year.
Ashwin’s last ODI game was in the year 2017 against the West Indies. He conceded 29 runs and took 3 wickets as India defeated the Windies comfortably, and since then he has not played for India in the limited over format.
During the second Test match against Sri Lanka in Nagpur, Ashwin became the fastest bowler to take 300 wickets. He achieved this feat in 54 Test matches, leaving behind the Great Denis Lillie (56 Tests).
In the Border-Gavaskar Trophy down under in 2020/21, R Ashwin played the innings of his life to rescue India from the jaws of defeat. In the third Test at Sydney, India were 272/5, chasing 407, when Ashwin joined hands with Hanuma Vihari, who was suffering from a hamstring injury, and the duo batted for 43 overs, as Ashwin, who was himself suffering from serious back spasm, played cautiously and scored 39 runs off 128 deliveries to draw the third Test match.
In the home series against England, Ashwin scored his 5th Test ton on a turning track of Chepauk. In the same series, he picked up his 400th wicket in Test matches and finished the series with 32 wickets to get the player of the series award.
In the IPL, he played for Chennai Super Kings till 2015, before the franchise was banned for the 2016, 2017 season. He was roped in by the newest IPL franchise, Rising Pune Supergiants in the 2016 season, where he picked up his 100th wicket in the IPL.
In 2018, Ashwin was bought by Punjab Kings for INR 7.6 crores. In an IPL match between the Punjab Kings and Rajasthan Royals, Ashwin 'Mankaded' Jos Buttler, reigniting the debate regarding the wicket dismissal.
He was traded off to the Delhi Capitals ahead of the 2020 season, where he finished the tournament with 13 wickets. Ashwin has been retained by the Capitals ahead of the 2021 Indian Premier League season.
A great think-tanker, Ashwin has been India’s best player in the longest format of the game for the past decade. His accuracy and shrewdness is what makes him so special. He is never shy to experiment with his bowling and he has a zeal to learn which has propelled him to great success at the international level. He’ll be hoping to perform well in the IPL, and a good performance here can open the doors for a re-entry in the shortest format of the game.
(As of March 2021)