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Ashwin fights hard to hold tears, hands 100th Test cap to daughter after Rahul Dravid’s emotional speech in Dharamsala

An emotional Ashwin collected his special 100th cap presented by Rahul Dravid and immediately handed it over to his daughter.

Ravichandran Ashwin fought hard to hold back his tears. Unlike the ball from his hand or the words from his mouth, he was not ready to let his emotions flow. His eyes and the shy smile throughout, however, narrated the entire story. His wife Prithi had a similar expression. Ashwin’s two daughters, too young to understand the enormity of the occasion, were giggling, doing their best to stand still as India head coach Rahul Dravid delivered an emotional speech, summing up Ashwin’s journey.

India’s Ravichandran Ashwin (2R) with his wife and children poses with a memento on his 100th Test match in Dharamsala(AFP)

It’s not easy. How do you do justice to a cricketer like Ashwin in a speech of a couple of minutes? Dravid did his best. He has developed quite a reputation of sorts as a speaker in the Indian dressing room. His speech while handing over the Test cap to Akash Deep in Ranchi was a sight to behold.

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Here too, Dravid’s words were enough to set the butterflies fly in Ashwin’s stomach.

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There have been many special occasions in Ashwin’s glittering cricket career – two in this series itself when he became the world’s second-fastest cricketer to take 500 Test wickets and then when he beat Anil Kumble to become the highest wicket-taker in Test matches played in India – but this would perhaps have a different space in the great off-spinner’s career. It’s his 100th Test after all. He became the 14th Indian cricketer to achieve the special century in this format.

The BCCI presented a special 100th Test cap to Ashwin. It was handed over by Dravid after he finished his speech. Ashwin collected the cap kept in a glass cabinet and immediately handed it over to his daughter.

Rahul Dravid presents a special memento to R Ashwin on his 100th Test

The special gestures for Ashwin were not finished. In a great show of support, the Indian players lined up to give Ashwin a guard of honour before making their way out into the centre.

Rohit Sharma hails R Ashwin on his 100th Test

“(It’s a) big achievement for any player to play 100 Tests. It is a big milestone. He has been a match-winner for us. What he has done for us, no praise is enough,” Rohit Sharma said on the eve of the match.

“His performances over the last five-seven years, every series he has contributed. It is rare to have players like him,” he added.

“I want to congratulate him for his 100 test landmark, of course, to get near it as the toss hasn’t happened. It feels good to reap the rewards of your hard work,” the skipper said.

They have been national teammates for close to a decade and a half but it was more than 20 years back when a then precocious Mumbai off-spinner Rohit was pitted against talented opener Ashwin in Vijay Merchant (U-16) and Cooch Behar Trophy (U-19).

“As a captain, I have seen him since U-19, U-17 days. He batted at that time, was an opener and then he started bowling. And I used to bowl (off-spin) and then became a batsman, so it became up and down for us but it has been good for Indian cricket.”

Ashwin, the “cricket scientist”, has evolved a lot in these 14 years, feels Rohit.

“As a cricketer, he (Ashwin) has evolved in his game and he has a lot of intelligence and if you get a player like this in the team then you don’t have to think too much.

“If you give the ball to him, then he drives the game. How to bowl, what field to set and what to do, I am talking about the planning during the game.”


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