Ravichandran Ashwin turns 31 on Sunday    AFP
Ravichandran Ashwin turns 31 on Sunday AFP

India s cynosure of spin attack, Ravichandran Ashwin was born on September 17, 1986. However, his line of work is not confined to bowling, for his drives and flicks paint a delirious scene for the purists of the game. The amalgamation of Morrant pads, hip movement, and wrist-work render a reminiscence of VVS Laxman s artistry.

On his birthday, Kaustubh S. Mayekar lists down intriguing facts, numbers, and anecdotes of a greater man who catches the batsmen in a trance with his wide array of spin.

Eluding a career-endangering injury

Ashwin, at 14, had severely injured his pelvic area, triggering a tear in the ligaments between his hip bones and eventually leaking blood in his bone joints. Fortunate was Ashwin that a two-month bed rest healed him, although he was out of action for 8 months and later limped until he wrestled his way back to normalcy.

Good luck in disguise

The injury came at the expense of Ashwin s opening slot. Given this, his mother insisted him to change his area of expertise to spin-bowling. The remaining tale is chronicled as you progress reading the piece.

A scholarly sportsman

Ashwin s interviews are evidence to the fact that he is well-educated. From choice of words to mannerisms, one can tell that his parents nicely groomed him, inculcating values. He holds a B.Tech degree from one of the reputed colleges in Chennai.

Cricket runs in the family

Working for Southern railways, Ashwin s father played for Egmore Excelsiors for over a decade. Very little did he know that his son would excel in the same sport and serve the same club.

Debutants in crime

Ashwin made his T20I debut with his current captain Virat Kohli and Naman Ojha, and ODI debut with Pankaj Singh and Ojha.

Beginner s luck

Come to think of it, he has not run out of the luck potion yet. That being said, he finished with match figures of 9 for 128 on his Test debut, dismembering West Indies with his mastery. And thus, he became only the third Indian to be adjudged Man of the Match on debut.

That, however, was a mere match-winning performance. Later he would go on to hatch efforts that resulted in series victories.

The Man of the Series

Since 2011, Ashwin has been awarded Man of the Series as many as 7 times, the most by any Indian. Sachin Tendulkar, who has played 148 matches more than him (at the time of writing this article), is placed third in the list.

Ashwin needs 5 more awards to surpass Muttiah Muralitharan s tally, and dethrone him from the top.

Art of stitching long, tiring stands

In Tendulkar s penultimate match in 2013, Ashwin added 280 runs with Rohit Sharma for the seventh wicket, a record for India.

During India s tour of West Indies 2016, Wriddhiman Saha and Ashwin registered the highest sixth-wicket partnership for India against West Indies.

Sanga Ashwin s bunny

In Kumar Sangakkara s farewell series, Ashwin became the only bowler to have him dismissed in three consecutive innings. That was not it, Ashwin trapped Sanga in his final innings as well, scaling up the count to 4.

Awards and recognition

Ashwin was announced BCCI s cricketer of the year 2012-13. A year later, after a series of stellar performances, Ashwin was bestowed with Arjuna Award, India s highest sporting honour. In 2017, Ashwin received Dilip Sardesai award.

During India s home season 2016-17, Ashwin was No. 1 bowler as well all-rounder in ICC Test Rankings. He became the first Indian to sit atop two standings.

Adding more to the list of firsts, he is the only India bowler to have taken 10 wickets in a match, in his hometown.

All-rounder in true sense of the word

Ashwin is the joint-fastest to career-double of 50 wickets and 500 runs, along with Ian Botham and Jack Gregory.

He would then become the fastest to 250 wickets and 2,000 runs.

Ashwin, the fastest Indian

Ashwin is the fastest Indian to 50,100, 150, 200, and 250 wickets. He is only 30, and seems to be in the best of his fitness. He knows how to exploit those benevolent India tracks.

Marrying a childhood friend

Unlike his numbers, Ashwin is not that boring a person. He fell for his childhood friend Prithi Narayan, and married her in 2011, the same year Ashwin made his Test debut. After they tied the knot, he took 4 fours in the next match, followed by 5 for 156, 4 for 34, a magnificent 103.

This indeed proves that behind every successful man there is a woman.

Ravichandran or Ashwin: what do you call the champ?

His father s name is Ravichandran and his is Ashwin. Given his accolades, you may call him a record-breaker.