Friday, 31 July,New Delhi: India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin was presented the Arjuna Award on Friday, which was conferred on him last year, by the Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal. Ashwin was not present during the Award Ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhawan on August 29, 2014 as he was a part of the India ODI team, which was touring England at that time.
The 28-year-old Ashwin, who has taken 124 wickets in 25 Tests, 139 in 99 ODIs and 26 wickets in 25 T20 internationals, was expressed his delight after receiving the prestigious award.
“The journey has been pretty good so far. I have been very lucky, in a lot of aspects I thank God for that. To a greater degree I just played for the country and felt that I was very lucky and then to be conferred the Arjuna award today from the Sports Minister is a big honour. I hope I serve the country in a better fashion and get more awards,” Ashwin told reporters.
With Sri Lanka tour round the corner, first Test begins August 12, Ashwin is not under any sort of pressure and is busy enjoying his game.
“Honestly, pressure is something that we are used to all the time. So pressure is not something that is a factor. I want to go there and get used to the conditions. I just want to enjoy my game. I am doing really well, the ball is coming out well so I just want to enjoy myself,” he said. He became the fastest bowler in 80 years to complete 100 wickets in his 19th Test in November 2013 against the West Indies at the Wankhede Stadium, which was the the farewell game of Sachin Tendulkar.
The Chennai-born tweaker overtook the previous Indian record of one of the members of the famed spin quartet — off-spinner Erapalli Prasanna — to reach the 100-wicket mark in one fewer Test. A total of 46 cricketers, including women, have been conferred the sporting honour.