MUMBAI: Premier off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who recently became India's second-highest wicket-taker in Test cricket, said he never ran after numbers in his career and considers personal milestones as "just part of the journey and not final destination".
Ashwin, who picked up 12 wickets at an average of 15.08 in the recent Test series against Sri Lanka, became India's second-highest wicket-taker in Test matches after he surpassed legendary Kapil Dev's tally of 434 wickets.
By doing so, he also became the eighth-highest overall in the history of Test cricket with a tally of 442 scalps.
"The numbers are great, and it's humbling really to see what I've been able to do in terms of the numbers. The more I've played, the more it felt like the numbers are a part of the journey rather than the destination," Ashwin said in a release.
"In the past 2-3 years especially, the feeling has been great, with series wins in Australia, come back into the T20 team, it almost feels like how I felt when I first broke into the team, wherein a lot has been going on for me."
The 35-year-old spinner, who will represent his fifth franchise in IPL after being roped in by Rajasthan Royals, said the lucrative T20 tournament has helped him develop into a better cricketer from its onset.
"The IPL is a tough tournament, there are a lot of variables leading into every season which can have an impact. Dew, pitches, the opposition, you name it and there's a variable that can impact a game in different ways - which makes it a challenge to prepare for things in advance and you've got to be ready at all times," Ashwin said in a release issued by RR.
"However, for me, personally, going into an IPL season is always exciting. The IPL gives a window of experimentation, something which has enabled me to come out a richer cricketer, irrespective of the results, every time I've been a part of it."
Being one of the senior-most players, Ashwin also shed some light on his potential role in the RR. "I feel contribution to a team is far beyond just contributing on the ground. I've always been a person who enjoys talking about cricket and has been very open in terms of having a discussion with anyone around the sport."
"With my experience and communication skills, I'll try to have discussions with anyone who wants to have a discussion and help to the best of my ability, hopefully making a difference to the squad from within," he said.
The 2011 World Cup-winning side member also had words of praise for RR skipper Sanju Samson.
"I think Sanju has got an amazing attitude and a good head on his shoulders. He's always open for discussion, open to opinions around the game, so that's a great quality to have."
"I do believe Sanju has got the vantage point as a wicketkeeper to judge the game with all the angles, the pitch, and how things are going to work. He also has age on his side, and will definitely get better," Ashwin signed off.