Ravichandran Ashwin walked into the history books on Thursday, becoming the fourth Indian to the 400-wicket mark in Test cricket. However, the Indian off-spinner, who is having a dream season, has revealed that he didn’t expect to be a part of the Indian playing XI during the Test series in Australia.
Since the start of the Australia tour in December, Ashwin has been crucial to India’s success, claiming 36 wickets from 6 Tests at 20.08. He also played vital roles with the bat during the Sydney Test in January and the second Chennai Test last week.
After India’s victory in the pink-ball Ahmedabad Test, Ashwin revealed how Ravindra Jadeja’s injury during the T20I series in Australia changed things for the off-spinner.
“I didn’t expect to start in the playing XI during the Australia tour as it looked like Jadeja would start. He got a hamstring tear, and since then, things have just looked upwards (for me)."
“I worked very hard during the lockdown. When I landed in Australia, both Virat (Kohli) and Ravi bhai had a chat with me about my batting. They also saw something special in my bowling. I think my bowling was coming along beautifully in the IPL, too,” said Ashwin in a post-match interview."
Ravindra Jadeja got injured during the first T20I between India and Australia in December, which made him miss the day-night Test at Adelaide and paved the way for Ashwin's entry into the team.
Ravichandran Ashwin immediately made an impact by turning a tormentor to Steve Smith and hasn't looked back since.
Last 2-3 months has been a dream run and a fairytale: Ravichandran Ashwin
The Ahmedabad day-night Test saw Ashwin become the second-fastest to the 400-wicket mark in Tests after Sri Lankan off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan. Ravichandran Ashwin got to the milestone in 77 Tests, whereas Murali took 72 Tests to get to the mark.
Ravichandran Ashwin claimed 7 for 74 in the Ahmedabad Test, which was dominated by his fellow spinner and local boy Axar Patel.
Axar Patel would go on to be another beneficiary of Ravindra Jadeja’s injury. Playing his second Test, Axar claimed match figures of 11 for 70, helping India to a remarkable 10-wicket win.
“It feels amazing actually [to reach 400 Test wickets]. The entire stadium stood up and clapped for me. Pleased it happened in the winning cause. But Axar (Patel) bowled beautifully in the third innings. I can’t really get a grip on what has happened in the last 2-3 months. Looking back, it has been a dreamy run and a fairy-tale,” said Ravichandran Ashwin, who now has 401 wickets from 71 Tests at 24.95.
The final Test of the ongoing India-England series will be played at the same venue in Ahmedabad from March 4.