Cricket has been a great way for a number of friends and families to bond. The rush of coming together with others to play the Gentlemen’s Game or watching with bated breath as your favourite team inches towards victory, knowing you are part of a community, is exhilarating. It was this very feeling that made Ashwin fall in love with the game.

“My earliest cricket memory was in 1992, when India was playing the World Cup,” narrated Ashwin. “I was about 6 years old and we were sitting and watching the game with my father and his friends. It was an India vs Pakistan match and India won. Watching my father and his friends celebrate, that was my earliest experience watching cricket and I decided that even I wanted to play cricket after that.”

In fact, his father’s passion for the game was one of the biggest reasons for the Thalaiva of spin to take up the game. Coming from a family of cricket lovers, it was a natural progression for Ashwin from gully cricket to domestic and then to the international stage.

“My dad was a big inspiration for me. He used to play a little bit of cricket that inspired me to play the game. In my neighbourhood everybody used to play cricket and my cousins were also good cricketers, we used to play cricket in the neighbourhood, on the streets, and I liked the game, so I continued from there,” said the spinner. 

Once inspiration struck, Ashwin’s quick thinking and deep understanding of the game took him to the top in quick time. He has gone on to become one of India’s most effective spinners, capable of turning the ball and picking up wickets on virtually any pitch in the world. He is among the few spinners in the world to have picked up more than 300 Test and 150 ODI wickets. Now with him appointed captain of the Kings XI Punjab side, Ashwin is sure to lead and inspire the next generation of cricketers, just like his father once inspired him.