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‘Was nobody in CSK in IPL 2008. Then Dhoni…: Ashwin reveals career-changing MSD call after felicitation for 100 Tests

Ashwin was part of the CSK franchise between 2008 and 2015. He picked 120 wickets in 121 appearances for the franchise.

India bowler Ravichandran Ashwin was on Saturday felicitated at a function organised by the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA)to celebrate his astounding feat of 500 wickets and a century of Test appearances for India, which was achieved during the recent home series against England. The achievement and celebration further consolidated his status as a legend of Indian cricket. But in his moment of joy in that function in Chennai, Ashwin did not forget to drop a mention of the career-changing moment, courtesy of a decision from MS Dhoni, back in his IPL days with Chennai Super Kings, which is fondly recalled to date.

R Ashwin pays ultimate tribute to MS Dhoni

Dhoni has always been a master of out-of-the-box strategies, one of which was witnessed back in the IPL 2011 final when Chennai were up against Royal Challengers Bangalore. Contrary to the general opinion and trend, the captain flung the new ball to Ashwin to take on an in-form Chris Gayle. The then rookie off-spinner made the impact in just the fourth delivery as Chennai later went on to lift the title.

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It was among the first glimpses of the talent Ashwin, who made his debut for India in both the white-ball formats in 2010, possessed. In 2011, he made his Test debut and more than a decade later, he completed the milestone of 100 Test appearances while taking his wicket tally to 516. As Ashwin held the INR 1 crore cheque with TNCA celebrating his impressive feat, in a dipped-in-emotion voice, he credited Dhoni.

“In 2008 I met all the greats (in CSK dressing room) Mathew Hayden and MS Dhoni. I sat through (IPL) 2008. I was a nobody then, where am I to play in a team that had Muttiah Muralitharan. I am indebted to Dhoni for the rest of my life for what he gave me. He gave me an opportunity with the new ball to go head on with Chris Gayle and 17 years later Anil bhai would be talking about the same episode,” he recalled.

Ashwin was part of the CSK franchise between 2008 and 2015. He picked 120 wickets in 121 appearances for the franchise and remains their third-highest wicket-taker to date after Dwayne Bravo (154) and Ravindra Jadeja (134).

Ashwin will now gear up for his 17th season in IPL where he will don the Rajasthan Royals jersey again. IPL 2024 will begin from March 22 onwards in Bengaluru.


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