Ravichandran Ashwin credited MS Dhoni for taking a chance on him as a young player in the IPL.

Ravichandran Ashwin, overwhelmed with emotion during a ceremony to honour his 500th Test wicket felicitated by the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association, expressed his immense gratitude to former Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni for believing in him when he was a newcomer.

Ashwin, now a household name in Indian cricket, recalled his early days with the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) franchise. Back in 2008, Ashwin was a young, unproven player overshadowed by established stars like the legendary Muttiah Muralitharan.
However, in the 2011 IPL final against Royal Challengers Bangalore, Dhoni, known for his unconventional captaincy decisions, surprised everyone by handing the new ball to the young Ashwin to bowl against Chris Gayle. The gamble paid off as Ashwin dismissed Gayle in his fourth delivery, making a significant impact on the match.

“In 2008 I met all the greats (in CSK dressing room) Matthew Hayden and MS Dhoni. I sat through (IPL) 2008. I was a nobody then, where am I to play in a team that has Muttiah Muralitharan? I am indebted to Dhoni for the rest of my life for what he gave me. He gave me an opportunity with the new ball to go head-on with Chris Gayle.” Ashwin recalled it emotionally.

After his IPL campaign, the off-break bowler made his India debut under Dhoni’s leadership that same year, claiming the Player of the Match award in his first Test against the West Indies, and since then he has never looked back.

The felicitation event further saw Ashwin speak about the influence of other cricketers on his career and his argumentative nature, which he sees as a way to seek new perspectives and improve his game: “Argument is never with the person. It is always with the true learning that comes at the end of it,” added Ashwin.

The veteran bowler concluded by expressing how much he loves playing for Tamil Nadu and how eager he is to play domestic cricket whenever his national duty allows. Nevertheless, the Madras-born player will be next seen playing for the Rajasthan Royals against the Lucknow Super Giants on March 24th.

Last Updated on March 17, 2024