Not many young Indian bowlers have managed to become regulars in the Indian team as quickly, and as conclusively, as R Ashwin. Wisden India caught up with Ashwin to understand what makes him tick, his now-famous bagful of tricks, and whether he can one day become a full-fledged allrounder.
Twenty20 cricket was supposed to spell doom for spinners. But in the IPL, for example, you were one of the people who started the trend of opening the bowling with spinners, and now everyone seems to be doing it. What’s the deal?
I don't know. As far as I am concerned, any chance that came my way had to be taken if I had to reach anywhere in life. I took it with both hands. I took it head-on. I was like someone that was very hungry and prepared to hunt on an island. I had a lot of courage and faith in myself. One of the things about me is that if I had something to do, I would do it. I was left out of the Chennai Super Kings team in the third edition of the IPL and I was sitting at home and was making all sorts of promises to friends and parents; I am very happy that two to three years down the line, I am sitting and talking about it now. If it had gone the other way … I wouldn't have let it go the other way of course. I came back into the squad and actually replaced (Muttiah) Muralitharan because of the combination and whatnot. It was a chance that came my way, and I took it with both hands.
A lot of faith in your ability, sure … but also the faith of your captain, isn't it?
I would say so, but if I didn't have faith in myself, I don't think anybody else would have. He (MS Dhoni) certainly had faith in me. I don't know what told him to do it, but he did. And I am very happy that I repaid his faith. But having said that, I am happy to have repaid my own faith. Otherwise it would have been a waste of time.