Tamil Nadu spinner Ashwin Murugan praised state teammate and namesake Ashwin Ravichandran, stating that the premier Indian off-spinner pushes his limits as a bowler.

The two Ashwins were part of the same teams in the Indian Premier League too, bowling in tandem for the now defunct side Rising Pune Supergiant and later at Kings XI Punjab. The Pune franchise, in the 2016 auction, paid Rs 4.5 crore to snap him up with his value increasing by a whopping 45 times from his base price of Rs 10 lakh.

The leg-spinner heaped praise on R Ashwin. “I have learnt a lot from him,” M Ashwin said during the chat show Homerun with AV with sports commentator Arun Venugopal.

“He’s a legend of the game. I’ve been fortunate to interact a lot with him. He is someone who keeps pushing you. He never likes to settle down [for mediocrity] and keeps pushing to get the best out of you. In that sense, it is very good to have someone close to you, someone who really cares for you and wants you to do well, and is also honest with his feedback.”

MS Dhoni has had a massive influence on my career, wanted his attention at CSK: R Ashwin

M Ashwin revealed that his bonhomie with the 33-year-old stretches off the field as well with the duo exchanging notes on parenthood. After a year under Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore, the Ashwins were reunited at Kings XI Punjab last year, making it his fourth franchise in as many seasons in the event.

“...and because he has two daughters, I can probably ask him how to manage two daughters [laughs]. They go to pre-school. I have interacted a lot with his wife as well. So, that’s the kind of life advice [related to parenting] I can get from him.”

M Ashwin, like the seasoned R Ashwin, was pursuing engineering but soon decided that he wasn’t cut out for it. The leggie explained how he took up cricket full-time.

“It’s only because I gave it [the prospect of a career in engineering] a thought that I decided to become a cricketer,” he said.

“Completing my MS and pursuing engineering as a profession is definitely not me. During the third year of my engineering, I decided to write GRE and started to prepare for it. Only after I started to prepare, I realised that it wasn’t for me. Up to that point, I had one leg in cricket and another in academics, and I wasn’t sure as to what to do. That’s when I decided to concentrate on cricket completely and give myself a few years. I thought if it didn’t go well, I could probably do something else,” M Ashwin added.

The 29-year-old, though, was quietly confident of being picked up by one of the franchises ahead of the 2016 auction, an event his household is unlikely to forget anytime soon.

“I was very fortunate to have gone for a big price in my first IPL auction,” M Ashwin remembered.

“I was watching the auctions with my father, while my wife was with her cousins. Definitely, she was very happy about my being picked in the IPL and was emotional about it. The thing is [before the auction started] I had wanted to spend the day alone, so I had asked her to leave me alone. That’s why she went to her cousin’s place.”

He added: “I think my name came up late in the evening. I was really hoping to get picked, because I did have a good Syed Mushtaq Ali tournament.

“I had gone to various other trials and had also done well there as well. So, my expectations in that auction were really high, so I was a bit tense as well. When my name came out and I was picked, I was really happy about it. My wife knows the journey I have undergone, so she was very happy about it. That’s why she was a bit emotional.”

Watch M Ashwin’s interview here: