India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin was awarded the Arjuna Award, which was conferred on him last year, on Thursday by the Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal in New Delhi.
Ashwin has been one of the best spinners that India have produced in recent times. He has been MS Dhoni's go-to man and has hardly disappointed his skipper across all formats of the game.
The 28-year-old off-spinner has picked up 124 wickets in 25 Tests, 139 in 99 ODIs and 26 wickets in 25 T20 internationals. Ashwin expressed his delight after receiving the prestigious award, which he could not receive last year as he was a part of the India team that was touring England back in August 2014.
"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 the reporters after receiving the highly coveted award.
"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 added.
Ashwin was also the fastest Indian bowler in 80 years to reach 100 wickets mark in just 19 Tests. He had achieved that milestone in the Test match against West Indies at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai last year which was also Sachin Tendulkar's farewell Test match.
Ashwin also posted a photo on Twitter and BCCI also wished him for this achievement on the same social media platform.
Received the award from the honourable minister of state(independent charge) Shri Sarbananda Sonowal. pic.twitter.com/kfZp8dPBzH
— Ashwin Ravichandran (@ashwinravi99) July 31, 2015
— BCCI (@BCCI) July 31, 2015