The Indian T20 League owes Ravichandran Ashwin the gratitude of one of its goals seeing the light of the day, pretty early. The league cited development of young players by giving them exposure and experience against and alongside international players as one of its major goals and Ashwin took the most out of it to emerge as one of the league's products. He followed the path of spin legend Anil Kumble in giving up a flourishing engineering career to pursue cricket.
Ashwin enjoyed a brilliant 2006-07 debut season with Tamil Nadu, scalping 31 wickets at an average under 20, but unfortunately missed a major part of the following season with a wrist injury. However, the off-spinner showed his mettle during his comeback in 2008, first with Chennai in the Indian T20 league and then with stellar performances for Tamil Nadu with both bat and ball.
After having made it to the ODI team in early 2010, Ashwin wasn't a part of the playing eleven initially. But with his exploits in the Indian T20 league, he was awarded another chance and he responded with a quick-fire 38 on debut against Sri Lanka. He was given a surprise entry into the 15-member Indian team for the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup as a supporting spinner to the then spearhead, Harbhajan Singh.
Ashwin enjoyed a dream debut, picking up nine wickets against West Indies, the second best match figures for a debuting Indian bowler, behind Narendra Hirwani's 16. The development and use of the carrom ball by Ashwin gave him a sharper edge in matters of selection over a waning Harbhajan. An opening batsman by aspiration, Ashwin couldn't realise that goal but has turned into an important all-rounder for India, especially in Tests with two centuries against West Indies and a never-ending hunger for runs, with the backing of a sound technique against all kinds of bowling.