5th Test: 'Test cricket is the closest synergy that you can find to life', says Ashwin on playing 100th Test

March 7, 2024
Playing in his 100th Test match for India, veteran off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin emphasised on the importance of playing the longer format of the game in his speech after head coach Rahul Dravid

Dharamshala, March 7 (IANS) Playing in his 100th Test match for India, veteran off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin emphasised on the importance of playing the longer format of the game in his speech after head coach Rahul Dravid gave him a special memento cap to mark the momentous occasion.

Ashwin, who debuted in Tests in November 2011 against the West Indies, becomes the 14th Indian player to play 100 Test matches for India. The veteran off-spinner also becomes just the second bowler after Muttiah Muralitharan to achieve 500 wickets in less than 100 Test matches.

“Most importantly I would like to tell something to the entire cricketing fraternity in our country right now. IPL has been a hugely popular tournament; a lot of kids want to play T20 and get into the IPL. I really do wish them the best and that they get there.

“But remember one thing, this format (Test) that we are playing and standing here proudly, there are some kids who have done wonderfully well for us in this format. It teaches you a lot of things that life wouldn’t teach you, because Test cricket is what life is, it is the closest synergy that you can find to life.

“It will teach you adaptability, dealing with pressure and can tell on for weeks about what it teaches. But remember that all those things will keep you in great stead if you decide to go all the way in this game.

“This great game will give you a lot of dividends for whatever work you put into it and I really hope a lot of people take up this sport and keep this wonderful format flying really high. Hopefully, we can have a great result at the end of this Test match,” said Ashwin in a felicitation speech held before the start of fifth and final Test against England at the HPCA Stadium.

He was also given a guard of honour by his Indian team-mates on his way to the field for the Test against England. Ashwin joins an illustrious list featuring Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Anil Kumble, Kapil Dev, Sunil Gavaskar, Dilip Vengsarkar, Sourav Ganguly, Virat Kohli, Ishant Sharma, Harbhajan Singh and Cheteshwar Pujara to play 100 Test matches for India.

As of now, he has taken 507 wickets in 99 Tests at a strike rate of 53.9 and an average of 26.5. Ashwin was joined by his wife Prithi, daughters Akhira and Aadhya in this landmark moment and he duly acknowledged the role of family in seeing this day in his cricketing career.

“It’s quite an emotional moment. Not just for me, I’m not the one who would be shaken by emotions a lot. But today is a hugely emotional moment for a man who is sitting back in Chennai. Unfortunately, he couldn’t make it here.

“The first day (of playing cricket as a kid), I still remember it very clearly, I would put my kit in front of the petrol tank, and then he would put me on the bike and take me to the coaching camp. My mother supported him ably.

“A government employee (my father) wanted to take his son all the way miles ahead in life, somewhere we imagined I would ever get. He got me here because of the help of my mom and, of course, my granddad.

“My wife didn’t know what she was getting into. She’s gotten into it and she’s standing very proudly next to me today. I have got two lovely kids who are also enjoying my journey over the last few years.”

After handing Ashwin the memento cap, head coach Rahul Dravid felt the Chennai-based cricketer was truly deserving of reaching the 100 Tests landmark. “People use the word great too easily; greatness is consistency over time. It comes from practice, constantly making changes, sacrifice, stubbornness, constantly evolving, growing, learning and giving everything to a team you have and to the craft.

“Ash, you have given everything faithfully to the team and have arrived at a truly great place – your 100th Test. It was a journey that started from the streets of Chennai, it’s been a long and eventful journey. It wouldn’t have been possible without your family – your thatha (grandfather), your father Mr Ravichandran, mother, Prithi, Akhira and Aadhya.

“Our congratulations to them as well, speaking on behalf of the whole team, when I say this is a very popular and well-deserved achievement. It’s been a privilege to play cricket with you and work with you as a coach and it’s a privilege to hand this cap to you. Very well done, all the best and keep going,” he concluded.



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