Ravichandran Ashwin, ace Indian off-spinner, opened up on his experience of playing alongside MS Dhoni during his initial days in the Chennai Super Kings, during a recent freewheeling conversation with Harsha Bhogle on CricBuzz.
Ashwin, who was a pivotal member of the Chennai Super Kings unit that won the Indian Premier League title in 2010 and 2011, revealed how he had to go out of his way and try his absolute best to leave an impression on MS Dhoni.
Ashwin also recalled how Dhoni used to hit legendary off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan for massive sixes during the practice sessions when he first broke into the CSK outfit.
“I would be waiting in the queue at the MA Chidambaram stadium where there was a net behind the stadium and one where they practice right next to the match turf. So MS and Suresh always batted at the center. Queuing up to bowl to them at the center was some sort of a yardstick,” Ravichandran Ashwin recalled.
“We didn’t always get to do that. But when I did that for the first time, I was bowling alongside Muttiah Muralitharan. Every time Murali bowled to MS, MS hit the ball long. MS of today is a lot more calculated but I have seen him back then where he used to whack every single ball and every time Murali dragged the length back, MS hit it farther,” he added.
There were at least 5-6 balls that scaled the roof of the MA Chidambaram stadium. I hadn’t seen anybody hit the ball that far and that was every very new in that era. To hit sixes was something we weren’t taught as youngsters,” Ashwin said.
“I used to think if I bowl better, I would get to play ahead of Murali”- Ravichandran Ashwin
The vile off-spinner, however, admitted that he always used to tell himself that if he can bowl better than Muralitharan then he could get a chance ahead of him in the playing XI.
“I used to think if I bowl better, I would get to play ahead of Murali. It is just the way everyone wires themselves. And it’s not that I trained myself to be wired that way, but I never saw myself inferior to anyone walking into the side. That’s how it worked,” Ashwin added.
Ashwin represented Chennai Super Kings till 2016. He was bought by Kings XI Punjab in 2018 which he captained for two seasons before joining Delhi Capitals for the 2020 edition.