"The King of Spain" as he became affectionately known, came to Warwickshire as a fast bowler before changing his style to left-arm spin playing in six matches during the 1995 County Championship winning season.
In 1997 Ashley gained his first of 62 One-Day International caps, and then in 1998 made the first of his 54 appearances for England in Test cricket. Throughout his tenure as England’s number one spinner, he had to justify his selection at almost every moment throughout his early International career and in early 2004 he came close to retirement after a modest tour of the Caribbean.
However after a match winning nine-wicket haul at Lord's later that summer, he continued to contribute vital performances - with both ball and with bat - culminating in his career-best 59 at The Oval, an innings which helped seal England's first Ashes victory for 18 years.
Missing much of the 2006 season after a hip operation, he was included in the 2006 Ashes squad to Australia playing in the opening two Tests but after battling to recover from a further hip operation in 2006/7 a recurrence of the problem forced him to announce his retirement towards the end of the 2007 season.
Within weeks he had been appointed as Warwickshire's director of cricket.