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Ashwin’s wife Prithi’s panic when mother-in-law ‘collapsed’: Frantic call to Pujara, help from Rohit Sharma, Dravid

India vs England 5th Test: Ashwin’s wife Prithi narrated how everything unfolded between Day 2 and Day 3 of the third Test when her mother-in-law fell ill.

By Ravichandran Ashwin’s exceptionally high standards, he hasn’t quite set the stage on fire in the ongoing India vs England series with his on-field performances yet. And that is saying a lot to a man, who has picked up 17 wickets in four Tests – the joint-most by an Indian in this series along with Jasprit Bumrah and Ravindra Jadeja. But that is how good Ashwin is at home. 17 wickets in four Tests in India are still not satisfactory, or at least they don’t seem to be. It never is with Ashwin. No matter what he does, it never seems to be enough. Is it his greatness or the general perception around him? Difficult to answer.

Ravichandran Ashwin with his wife Prethi

In terms of milestones, however, this series against England would always be a glittering chapter in Ashwin’s glorious career. In the third Test in Rajkot, he became only the second Indian after the legendary Anil Kumble and the second fastest in the world after spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan, to claim 500 Test wickets.

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In the fourth Test in Ranchi, Ashwin went past Kumble’s tally of 350 wickets to become the bowler with the most strikes in India. And come the fifth Test in Dharamsala, starting Thursday, he would become the 14th Indian to represent the country in this format 100 times.

But this series has been anything but a bed of roses for Ashwin. When he was ticking one milestone after the other in the cricket field, his personal life went into turmoil after his mother “collapsed” hours after the India all-rounder had taken his 500th Test wicket.

Ashwin had to rush to Chennai from Rajkot, leaving the third Test midway to attend to his ailing mother. He would rejoin the team on Day 4 and even pick up a wicket in the second innings but the couple of days in between were filled with tension and anxiety.

Ashwin’s wife Prithi narrates hard times when mother-in-law fell ill

Ahead of Ashwin’s landmark 100th Test, his wife Prithi narrated how everything unfolded between Day 2 and Day 3 of the third Test in Rajkot.

“Unlike the excitement around his 100th Test, as a family we were very cocooned when he was on 499 wickets. That was because Ashwin did not talk about it. During Rajkot, the kids had just got back from school when five minutes later, he got to 500. And soon, all of us were on the phone answering all the congratulatory messages.

“It was then that I heard a sudden scream from aunty as she collapsed, and in no time we were at the hospital. At that point, we had decided not to tell Ashwin because there wasn’t good flight connectivity between Chennai and Rajkot,” Prithi wrote in a column for The Indian Express.

A frantic call to Cheteshwar Pujara, help from Rohit Sharma and Rahul Dravid

Prtihi described how she took the help of Cheteshwar Pujara, whose hometown is Rajkot, to figure out things before massing the message to Ashwin. India captain Rohit Sharma, head coach Rahul Dravid and the top BCCI officials arranged for Ashwin’s travel and extended their full support.

“So I dialled Cheteshwar Pujara and his family were of great help. And once we found a way out, I called up Ashwin because after the scans, the doctor suggested it was better to have her son around. Over the phone, he sounded so broken and hung up. It took another 20-25 minutes to process what I told him and for him to call back. And thanks to Rohit (Sharma), Rahul bhai (Dravid) and the others in the team and the BCCI — who followed up all the way till he reached here — he got here late at night.

“It was a very emotional moment for him to see his mom in the ICU. And after she stabilised, we asked him to rejoin the team. Given his personality, he would never leave a game like that. And he would have an extreme amount of guilt if he didn’t win the game for his team. Through those couple of days, I realised his yearning for time with his parents is a lot more now and it is coming with age and maturity.”


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