Recently, Kumble praised Ashwin as a "fantastic cricketer" and revealed he saw a lot of himself in the tall spinner from Tamil Nadu.
"I see a lot of myself in Ashwin. He is a fantastic cricketer with a lot of work ethic. Obviously, he is a far better batsman than me. Like me, Ashwin has also been criticised for not getting wickets overseas. But again, he has a lot of chance of improving," Kumble had said last week in Melbourne ahead of his induction into the ICC Hall of Fame.
Now, when Ashwin was reminded of Kumble's appreciation for him, he said on Thursday, "Skill-wise I think there are a lot of people that you can admire all throughout your career, and as young as you are, you might not know about it. But I've always maintained that (Anil) Kumble is one of my big heroes because every time he's been put in the corner he's come out really successful."
"That is one aspect I really admire about him. And there have been times people have asked me who is your role model and I actually told them Kumble is one of my role models. To actually hear that from him is a big honour. At the same time, it's a big boot to fill in. It's not as easy as he made it sound, but I'm really pleased for it," he added.
Ashwin said he started bowling spin very late having begun his cricket career as a batsman.
"I started bowling spin pretty late in my career. I was more of a batsman until the 1990s. There have been times where I've really mocked around with my action, and tried to be a harder seam," he said.
Ashwin was speaking to the media on the eve of their Pool B match against West Indies tomorrow at ICC World Cup 2015.