Nottinghamshire signed Indian international Ravi Ashwin for the second half of a disappointing 2019 County Championship season. In his short time with the club he amply illustrated his status as one of the world’s leading players, showing skills with both bat and ball.
Ravichandran Ashwin was born in Madras (now Chennai) on 17 September 1986. Making his First-Class debut for his state Tamil Nadu in the Ranji Trophy in 2006, Ashwin also appeared regularly for South Zone in the Duleep Trophy and, from 2009, was with Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League. International honours came first in June 2010 when he debuted for India in both One Day and T20 international cricket; he made his first Test appearances in 2011/12 in the home series against West Indies.
A right handed bat and off spinner, all-rounder Ashwin made his mark in all forms of the game. At the point he joined Nottinghamshire, he had started more than 200 times for India – 65 Test matches, 111 one day internationals and 46 T20 internationals. In Test cricket he was India’s fourth highest wicket taker with 342 victims and had also contributed 2,361 runs.
Ashwin arrived in late June, taking over the role of Notts’ overseas player from Australian James Pattinson, who had joined up with touring team for the Ashes series. His contract with the County was for County Championship matches only and it was hoped that his arrival might spark a revival in the fortunes of a side rooted to last place in Division One.
Ashwin delivered some impressive individual performances for the County. Making his first appearance for Nottinghamshire against Essex at Trent Bridge, he was asked to bowl a mammoth 60 overs in the visitors’ only innings, taking 3-162 as they racked up 519 to set up an innings victory. Two games later he claimed 12 wickets in the match against Surrey with 6-69 and 6-75, contributing to an overall haul of 34 wickets in just five starts. With the bat he scored 339 runs at an average of over 37 and a top score of 66 not out. These figures took him to the top of the County’s batting averages and second place in the bowling averages for the season.
Ashwin gave his all for Nottinghamshire in his brief stay. He provided great on-field encouragement to rookie all-rounder Liam Patterson-White who clearly relished bowling in tandem with the Indian great. Impressive though Ashwin’s performances were, he could not inspire a turnaround in the overall performance of a team which would ultimately go all season without a red-ball victory.
At the end of the English season, Ashwin returned home to play further Tests for India. Still only 33 years old at the start of the 2019/20 Indian season, Ashwin has time to continue to make his mark on world cricket.