It has been more than 84 years since India entered the Test fold. With the nation developing a culture of producing one great batsman after another, the bowlers have not been bestowed the same mystic status. However, their contribution to the evolution of Indian cricket is arguably even more important than their eminent batting team-mates. After all, it takes 20 wickets to win a Test match.
In this regard, ace off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has been a revelation of sorts over the last couple of seasons. His wicket-taking spree has helped India take shape into a formidable unit under Virat Kohli’s captaincy. During the recently completed second Test against Australia in Bengaluru, the Tamil Nadu off-spinner went past the iconic Bishen Singh Bedi‘s wickets tally and entered a distinguished club.
Here are the top five wicket-takers for India in Test cricket.
#5 Ravichandran Ashwin – 269 wickets
With the wicket of Mitchell Starc in the second innings, Ashwin managed to overhaul Bishan Singh Bedi’s tally of 266 scalps. His average and strike-rate are comfortably better than everyone in this list. To put the numbers in perspective, his average is 4.85 lower than that of the second-best Kapil Dev and he takes a wicket in nine lesser deliveries than the second-most penetrative bowler Zaheer Khan.
Admittedly, Ashwin’s numbers might dip when India embark on their next round of overseas trips. However, if he manages to stay fit and maintains his form over the course of the next five years or so, there’s no telling how high he could go in the list of India’s leading wicket-takers.
*Overall Career – 269 wickets from 47 Tests at an average of 24.79 and strike-rate of 51.4 with 25 five-wicket hauls and 7 ten-wicket hauls
(*Note: All statistics are updated at the end of the second Test between India and Australia in Bengaluru)