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Ravichandran Ashwin (left) and Jayant Yadav IANS

Let me begin this piece on a personal note. Growing up, I always cherished discussing cricket with whoever I can in my family. I am sure, like it brings to many; talking cricket provided similar delectation which you get by playing the sport. Back in the day, there would have been endless discussions, and I would have picked up innumerable lessons on how to read cricket and its contests. But what about those who played and retired before I was born? What about those who were still playing while I was learning the game, and was not in a state where I could form an opinion, or even judge them? Full Cricket Scorecard: India vs England 3rd Test at Mohali

Out of those countless talks, I specifically remember one as clearly as it happened. One day, my aunt was cooking food and talking about the menace of the West Indian fast bowlers. Not surprisingly, she made a point so profound that it has stayed on with me since. She asked, why don t the players, when in their pomp, start preparing the next in line? Why the great Shane Warne never set out to find another young man like him, she asked. Her point was spot-on: it was in mid 1990s. No cricket team and its player were as busy as they are today.

Times have changed; cricket has evolved, it has gone busier and complex, and the modern day cricketer lives a life, which his predecessors may have never imagined. A cricketer of today is so deeply involved in himself that he does not even have time for his family; forget grooming a youngster who can successfully slip into his shoes.

But then, as it turns out, some things might have changed drastically but there still are a few men doing the right things. The report card of teams tells how well their players, management, the men working behind the scenes are putting in the hard yard which is culminating in success. But what happens when senior cricketers themselves start watching out for the younger ones while they are active? It results in further success. More importantly, it develops a culture so rich that it should never be done away with.

Not saying that many of the former cricketers have not done it, but this is about the role of a very special cricketer who has graced Indian cricket. Ravichandran Ashwin s contributions with the bat and the ball have made him indispensible to this Indian side, but this is not all. The role that Ashwin is playing in this team, without having any official designation alongside his name, is something that is empowering the Indian team further.

A lot has already been written about how precious Ashwin is to Indian cricket. But now, the new kid on the block Jayant Yadav has started making headlines, which is good, and a big share of the credit for his rise goes to Ashwin. Both Ashwin and Jayant have shared a special bond since 2014, as has been reported. They met through former India bowling coach Eric Simmons, who also remained the head coach of IPL side Delhi Daredevils for a long time.

Ashwin and Jayant have been more than in touch since then; the senior pro has helped in overall development of the all-rounder, especially with his bowling. Ashwin, who has been relentless in improving himself as a cricketer, has kept an eye on Jayant as well. It is as if Jayant has been the understudy of Ashwin with the only difference being that the two cricketers are getting to play together. Not many understudy cricketers get to play with their mentors , and Jayant is certainly one of the luckiest.

Ashwin has not just kept an eye on Jayant; it turns out that he is the reason why the Haryana cricketer has been fast-tracked into the Indian Test side. Former India cricketer who has recently taken over from Sandeep Patil as the chief selector, MSK Prasad has more to add, Ashwin always shares his knowledge. He has watched Jayant from close quarters and told me to back him. The hallmark of this Indian team is that they are ready to help each other and revel in each other’s success, Prasad told Times of India.

It is not just heartening to see that at a young age, Ashwin is not only donning the role of a mentor perfectly, but also his sharp cricketing brain is assisting India in making the right moves. Jayant announced his arrival with a resolute 35 at Visakhapatnam, and in the second Test, he scored a decisive fifty that extended India’s lead and eventually pummelled England into submission. In just two Tests so far, he has grabbed 8 wickets.

Sadly, most ardent India fans still remain interested in how many runs Virat Kohli or Rohit Sharma scored and did India win or not. They bother a very little about arduous efforts that contribute in victories, and if they have not read this fascinating little tale as of now, they better do it.

It is a win-win situation for Indian cricket. There is already a workhorse in the camp in Ajinkya Rahane, who dons the hat of vice-captain. Rahane shares a special bond with the leader of men Kohli, and they are often seen contemplating on a lot on the cricket field.

But slightly away from the limelight and the cameras, there is Ashwin, shepherding the new as well as the old. Not many are aware of this, but Ashwin had a massive role to play in Ravindra Jadeja s longest Test innings ever as well! Ashwin, post India s win at Mohali, revealed during a TV interview that he was the one assigned to look after Jadeja when they got together with India ending up in a perilous position. Ashwin revealed he kept the capricious Jadeja on the ground, many a times asking him to not get carried away with his strokes, telling him to spend time at the wicket rather than looking for runs.

Such a bond, no, that is not the right word. To even have such a conversation happening between lower-order batsmen in the middle of the pitch against a bowling attack featuring Jimmy Anderson and the X-Factor Ben Stokes it only tells that Indian cricket is perhaps at its healthiest state.

Understandably, Ashwin was left frustrated when Jadeja charged on one off Adil Rashid and threw away his wicket at 90. Jadeja squandered a golden opportunity to get to the magical numbers, and he has no one else to blame but himself. Ashwin revealed, “I had a go at Jaddu and told him that Test centuries are rare.”

Perhaps, the young bowlers in the Indian camp need to take a lot out of Ashwin s book than they usually do. Because he does not only brings a lot of knowledge and help as an expert spinner, but also provides valuable tips on constructing long innings.

Ravichandran Ashwin and the art of playing cricket.

(Devarchit Varma is a senior writer with CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter @Devarchit)