2016 has been nothing less than phenomenal for Ravichandran Ashwin. The Tamil Nadu off-spinner reclaimed the top spot for bowlers in Tests this year and achieved a career-best rating of 900 points after picking up a career-best match haul of 13 for 140 against New Zealand in Indore. The 30-year-old became only the sixth bowler after Muttiah Muralitharan, Glenn McGrath, Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn and Shaun Pollock to attain 900 ratings points since 2000.
He bagged the Man of the Series awards in the series against the West Indies and New Zealand after taking 17 and 27 wickets respectively. In between, he surpassed legends Waqar Younis and Dennis Lillee to become the second fastest bowler to claim 200 Test wickets. Furthermore, he picked up a five-wicket haul against England in Mumbai to go level with the legendary Kapil Dev with most five-wicket hauls by Indian bowlers in Tests (23). He finished the year as the highest wicket-taker with 72 scalps to his name. Ashwin also enjoyed a highly productive year with the bat too as he scored 612 runs in 12 matches, including two centuries and four half-centuries.
His brilliant year was looking to end in the best possible way after he won the ICC Cricketer of the Year and ICC Test Cricketer of the Year 2016 awards and became a father for the second time but with just a couple of days left before the new year arrives, a disappointing news jolted him. Actually, Ashwin recently launched a cricket academy in his city to nurture budding cricketers and with the academy still new, it suffered a huge loss by losing one of its most important members. PS Ramesh, a coach at the academy and considered very close to Ashwin, succumbed to a heart attack. Unable to hide his emotions and disappointment, the Indian star took to social media to express his feelings: