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Stats: Most wickets in a calendar year since 2008

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Ashwin is four short of passing the mark.

R Ashwin has been prolific with the ball for India

Ravichandran Ashwin has the chance to eclipse his own record for the most number of wickets across all three formats of the game, eclipsing the 87 scalps he took in 2015. The 30-year-old off-spinner has taken 84 matches in 2016 so far and with two Tests to go, will in all probability go past his personal best stats for a calendar year. 

While T20 cricket first took birth in 2003 in England, it can be said that the real boom period for the format arrived post the 2007 World T20 in South Africa, that saw packed houses arrive at most venues and India’s triumph in the competition only further boosted the USP of the format.

Cricket was known for having just two formats of the game prior to that, the experts began to include the T20 version as well and so we had not one, not two but three formats to determine the quality of a player and whether he ranks as among the best bowler in the game.

We now take a look at the bowlers with the most number of wickets from 2008 to 2015 who picked up the most number of scalps in each of those years. 

In 2008, Dale Steyn was at the peak of his powers and with his ability to consistently bowl in swing and out swing and dismiss the best batsman in the game. The following year, it was the turn of another tearaway quick to take honours as the leading wicket-taker as Mitchell Johnson finished the year with an astounding 113 scalps, 23 more than Steyn had in 2008.

It was the turn of a spinner to dominate proceedings in 2010, as Graeme Swann took home the honours for the leading wicket-taker for the calendar year with 111 wickets and that was to be the start if a domination for the tweakers.

Saeed Ajmal dominated the bowling charts for the next 3 years, picking up 89, 95 and 111 wickets in 2011, 2012 and 2013, bamboozling all players from around the world with his skills, in particular with his doosra, which flummoxed the best in the business.

However, Ajmal was caught for a dodgy action and has found it hard to get back to difficult to get his old magic back. But that didn’t stop a spinner from ruling the roost as Rangana Herath replaced him in the charts and finished as the highest wicket-taker in 2014 with 75 scalps to his name.

The streak of spinners with most wickets was halted by Mitchell Starc, who topped the charts with 88 wickets in 2015. Ashwin, in fact, fell short by a couple of wickets to go past the Australian quick in the list, finishing with 87 wickets to his name.

Where can Ashwin finish in the overall scheme?

In 2016, it seems like Ashwin will take home the honours for the leading wicket-taker across formats, having picked up 84 scalps and the only Kagiso Rabada the closest competitor to him.

In the overall scheme of things, Ashwin has the chance to go past Johnson’s mark if he picks up a 15-wicket haul in the remaining two Tests. Can he do that is the big question and the answer to that should be out by the end of the Chennai Test later this month.

Here’s a list of the leading wicket-takers since the T20 format of the game came into evolution:

No.NameWicketsMatchesDuration
1.Mitchell Johnson11347January 1st 2009 to December 31st 2009
2.Graeme Swann11139January 1st 2010 to December 31st 2010
3.Saeed Ajmal11150January 1st 2013 to December 31st 2013
4.Saeed Ajmal9539January 1st 2012 to December 31st 2012 
5.Dale Steyn9026January 1st 2008 to December 31st 2008
6.Saeed Ajmal8933January 1st 2011 and December 31st 2011
7.Mitchell Starc8830January 1st 2015 to December 31st 2015
8.R Ashwin84*29*January 1st 2016-Present
9Rangana Herath7421January 1st 2014-December 31st 2014

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