We often read about a sportsperson’s journey to fame. The struggles they face in the nascent days of their career is always an inspiration for the next generation to follow, and the supporters never stop hailing their idols to overcome their battles. However in case of Ravichandran Ashwin, an incident from his younger days is peaking the level of absurdity. The veteran Indian bowler narrates one story from the past where his adversaries decided to kidnap him and also threaten the player to cut his fingers!
Speaking to Cricbuzz, Ashwin recalled his teenage days, when his finesse with the tennis ball made him an icon in his friends circle. Despite reprimand from his father, Ashwin was a regular in tennis ball tournaments, thanks to his skills as a bowler.
The 33 year old said: “My friend had the habit of getting me playing tennis-ball tournaments, My dad clearly didn’t like it. He doesn’t appreciate me playing on the roads as well.”
Once he was selected for the final of one such tennis ball tournament, his kidnappers arrived on motorcycles to pick him up.
He continued: “So, one of those days we were supposed to play this final and we have this culture of people priding themselves on winning a competition like that. When I was about to leave, there were like 4-5 guys who came on a Royal Enfield. They were muscular and big and stuff like that.”
They had a little conversation with Ashwin before taking him.
“They just picked me up and said ‘we gotta go’. “I asked ‘who?’ and they said ‘No, you’re playing the match here, right? We have come to pick you up.”
At first imagining them as people from his own team, the young Ashwin thought they had come to pick him up for the final match, and he rode on the motorcycles to a tea shop.
The Tamil Nadu superstar went on- “So, I said wow, they have arranged for a pickup. And it feels great. And what happened is I sat behind one person and the other person sat right behind me as if I was going to get up and go and I was properly sandwiched between them.”
“They took me to a nice, posh tea shop. A tea shop is a big culture thing in Chennai. Next to all grounds there is a tea shop, with benches and all that,” the 33 year old also added that he was barely 14 or 15 when the incident happened.
However, the excitement soon turned into a nightmare for the teenager, as his ‘pickup’ guys revealed their true identity.
“At around 3:30-4 o clock, I said match is going to start, let’s go. They said ‘No, we are actually from the opposition. We wanted to stop you from playing. If you go and play, we’ll make sure your fingers are not there. I just kept staring at them and was like ‘Okay, yeah”.
Although the young Ashwin had no chance of joining his friends for the final, the kidnappers didn’t harm him, and he had a good time on the tea shop. Later, they even dropped him off to his home, before Ashwin’s father returned from his workplace.
“So, we had a gala time for the next hour and a half then I said look, my father will be back from office. I got to go home. I’ll not play the match. I promise you. Then they said okay. They picked me up and dropped me home,” Ashwin concluded.