Apart from featuring together for Tamil Nadu, the two Ashwins have played alongside each other in the Indian Premier League, too - representing both Rising Pune Supergiants and Kings XI Punjab.
"I have learnt a lot from him. He’s a legend of the game. I’ve been fortunate to interact a lot with him. He is someone who keeps pushing you. He never likes to settle down [for mediocrity] and keeps pushing to get the best out of you. In that sense, it is very good to have someone close to you, someone who really cares for you and wants you to do well, and is also honest with his feedback. It’s very good to have someone like him around."
M Ashwin has a lot in common with his illustrious namesake
It turns out that the two spinners are very good acquaintances off the field too and M Ashwin said he had sought advice from the senior R Ashwin regarding family management:
"As I said because we have interacted with each other a lot, and because he has two daughters, I can probably ask him how to manage two daughters [M Ashwin has two daughters as well. So does R Ashwin]. They go to pre-school. I have interacted a lot with his wife as well. So, that’s the kind of life advice I can get from him."
M Ashwin further revealed that the two have something in common as far as their academic careers go: both Ashwins studied in the same engineering college in Chennai.
M Ashwin had even contemplated pursuing higher education in the US but decided against it and ended up pursuing a career in cricket.
The decision worked out well for M Ashwin as he was drafted by the now defunct Pune franchise for ₹4.5 crore in the 2016 edition of the IPL. M Ashwin recalled the auction process and the joyous feelings of being selected:
"I was very fortunate to have gone for a big price in my first IPL auction. I think my name came up late in the evening. I was really hoping to get picked, because I did have a good Syed Mushtaq Ali tournament. So, my expectations in that auction were really high, so I was a bit tense as well. When my name came out and I was picked, I was really happy about it."