Ace India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin revealed that former captain and all-rounder Kapil Dev had sent a small hand-written note and bouquet for surpassing his tally of 434 Test wickets.
On Sunday, Ashwin went past Kapil Dev's 434 wickets to become the second highest wicket-taker for India in Test cricket. While Kapil Dev managed the feat in 131 Tests, Ashwin reached the mark in his 85th Test.
"Very sweet of Kapil (Dev) paaji. He has actually sent a bouquet home. He has also sent a small hand-written note congratulating me for crossing him. Sometimes people do forget that people like Kapil Dev, Sachin Tendulkar, Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh; those who have done incredible things in the past are one the reasons why I am sitting here today," said Ashwin in a video posted by the BCCI on Wednesday.
Talking about his feelings in surpassing Kapil Dev, Ashwin went on to narrate the tale of him seeing the legendary all-rounder achieve the mark as a child. "If I call this a dream, I would be lying. For me, getting this number of wickets was never even a part of my bucket list. I had put up a post on Instagram yesterday. Way back in 1994, I clearly remember I was sitting with my dad. My dad used to have a cane chair where I would sit and watch the game. We were watching and he was so keen."
"There were neighbours around and the neighbours had gathered to watch the game and I had no idea what they were looking forward to. I then realised that my father was cheering Kapil Dev on to go past Sir Richard Hadlee. I asked him the significance of it and he told me that Kapil Dev would go on to be the world's highest wicket-taker."
"I was so chuffed about it and you read a lot about it in the papers. For me at that point of time, an Indian achieving that sort of milestone was incredible. We have to be deeply indebted to such people. At the same time, we have to be very humble in what we are doing. I am extremely pleased and only full of gratitude for all those people before me."
Ashwin was also in praise of how the current Test side is shaping up. India are now in 1-0 lead against Sri Lanka with the second Test in Bengaluru, a day-night affair, starting from March 12. "It's been a wonderful team. As I look at it now with a little more maturity and a little bit of a twinkle in my eye, I can see the kind of people I brushed shoulders with in this team. Maybe 5-10 years down the line, people will talk about this being one of the good teams that India has produced."
Ashwin signed off by saying that he is now in the zone of striving to get better every day with a smile on his face. "And I'm so delighted for all my fellow cricketers who went on to do some great things. At this point of time, where I stand in my career and the kind of cricket I'm playing, I am just looking to get better every single day with utmost joy and happiness on my face, and I am enjoying this phase. Some of my teammates are enabling me to enjoy these moments better."
(With IANS Inputs)