Anil Kumble speaks
Anil Kumble, the highest wicket taker for India in Test matches who made a comeback in the IPL fold, had been a huge inspiration for Murugan Ashwin. Image Credit: Twitter

Dubai: Kings XI Punjab spinner Murugan Ashwin marked his 30th birthday by paying tribute to his inspirational head coach and mentor Anil Kumble.

Born in Chennai, the leg-break bowler took to social media on the team’s official social media platform, to express his happiness of being part of the revamped Kings XI team with ‘Anil Sir’ at the helm.


‘Three decades of Murugan magic,” says the tweet headline while inviting fans to “let the wishes rollin’ for the spin wizard”.

“Cricket means a lot to me. It’s something that means a lot to me. It is something which makes me really happy when I do it,” he started off in the brief video shot on the sidelines of the team’s practice session late on Monday at the ICC Academy premises in Dubai.

“I think the first ball that I bowled was leg spin, and I don’t know why. It’s something that came to me very naturally,” he recalled.

Ashwin then goes on to acknowledge the Kumble influence in his formation as a cricketer. “In Indian cricket, it has always been Anil Sir for me. I have grown up watching him. Literally I have watched almost every match that Anil Sir has played on TV,” Ashwin recounted.

Born on September 8, 1990, Ashwin made his List A debut with Tamil Nadu in December 2015 during the Vijay Hazare Trophy. A month later, he made his T20 debut in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy where he ended up as the second highest wicket-taken with 10 wickets. After this success, Ashwin was bought by the Rising Pune Supergiants for the 2016 Indian Premier League (IPL).

The following year, Ashwin was bought off by the Delhi Daredevils and then again by the Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2018 till making his move to the Kings XI Punjab.

Ashwin’s early years were spent at the cricket academy run by CS Suresh Kumar, the former Tamil Nadu batsman, before making the transition to the senior side on the back of strong performances for the State’s Under-23s side. Ashwin has also been a regular feature over the years as a net bowler for MS Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings.

“I even imitated Anil Sir’s bowling action a lot. So definitely, Anil Sir is someone who has really inspired me to take up this art. I am really happy that I have been here spending my time away from home with my family away with the kings XI Punjab,” Ashwin said.

“The IPL normally doesn’t happen during this time of the year and I will really enjoy celebrating my birthday with the team this year,” he added.