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IPL is hugely popular, but Test cricket is what life is: Ashwin, on receiving 100th Test cap from Dravid

R. Ashwin speaks to the Indian side ahead of his 100th Test Match on the first day of the 5th Test against England at Dharamshala on March 7, 2024.
| Photo Credit: R.V. Moorthy

“Test cricket is the closest synergy that you can find to life.” Ravichandran Ashwin’s voice trembled with emotion and pride during the gratitude-speech after receiving his special 100th Test cap from India head coach Rahul Dravid here on Thursday.

But Ashwin did not restrict that landmark moment, which came during the fifth and final Test against England, to himself but he championed the cause of Test cricket amidst money-spinning T20 leagues.

“IPL has been a hugely popular tournament; a lot of kids want to play T20 and get into the IPL. I really do wish that they get there. But remember one thing, this format (Test)… it is in a lot of things that life wouldn’t teach you,” Ashwin said.

“I think Test cricket is what life is. It is the closest synergy that you can find to life. It will teach you to adapt, dealing with pressures.”

The 37-year-old Ashwin, who made his Test debut in 2011, also paid handsome tribute to his father — Ravichandran — for believing in him and supporting his journey.

“It’s quite an emotional moment. Not just not just for me. I’m not one who would be shaken by emotions a lot. But today is a hugely emotional moment for a man who is sitting back in Chennai. Unfortunately, he couldn’t make it here,” Ashwin began before making a quick recollection of early days.

“The first day (as a kid cricketer), I still remember it very clearly, I would put my kit in front of the petrol tank, and then he would put me on the bike and take me to the coaching camp.

“A government employee (his dad) wanted to take his son all the way miles ahead in life, somewhere he imagined I would ever get. He got me here because of the help of my mom and, of course, my granddad,” he added.

His wife Preeti has been a big pillar of support for him in periods of struggles.

“My wife didn’t know what she was getting into. She’s gotten into it and she’s standing next to me today. I have got two lovely kids who are also enjoying my journey over the last few years,” Ashwin said.

After handing Ashwin the cap, Dravid said it was a well-deserved moment for the Tamil Nadu cricketer.

“You have given everything faithfully to the team and today is your 100th Test. It was a journey that started from the streets of Chennai. It’s been a long and eventful journey. It wouldn’t have been possible without your family. Congratulations to them as well.

“This is a well-deserved moment. It’s been a privilege speaking with you. It’s been a privilege to work with you as a coach. And of course, it’s a privilege to hand this cap to you,” Dravid said amidst applause from Ashwin’s teammates, who gave him a guard of honour while entering the field.

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