Ravichandran Ashwin: a legend in the making
It has been 8 years since Ravichandran Ashwin wore the white flannels for his country. India were taking on the West Indies in the first Test of the series in Delhi in November 2011, and the spinner from Tamil Nadu was making his debut for India. Ashwin immediately made his presence felt, taking 6/47 in the second innings as he spun a web around the ‘Men in Maroon’. The off-spinner also walked away with the man-of-the-match award in his maiden appearance for his country.
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Today, Ashwin stands as one of the most distinguished bowlers ever produced by India in Tests. In the 76 Tests that he has played for India, Ashwin has taken a stunning 362 wickets, including a whopping 27 5-wicket hauls. In fact, Ashwin holds the record for being the fastest to 300 Test wickets, taking just 54 matches to reach the milestone. The 31-year old is also the 4th highest wicket taker for India, behind Anil Kumble (619), Kapil Dev (434), and Harbhajan Singh (417).
Ashwin has proven to be a match winner for India in Tests, especially in home conditions. In fact, India’s current premium off-spinner claims that he does not depend upon pitches to assist him.
“I don’t complain about pitches, nor do I depend on them. A lot of times we play on green tops in county cricket. You adapt. I have been criticised too. Some say I try too many things. For me, if it gives me an extra opportunity to get a wicket, I will go for it”,
Ashwin’s record in home conditions proves that he is indeed the side’s trump card. In the 43 matches that he has played at home, Ashwin has picked up a colossal 254 wickets, at an outstandingly measly average of just 22.80. Also, 21 out of his total (27) 5-wicket hauls have come in home conditions.
After Ashwin became the fastest to 350 Test wickets, legendary leg spinner Anil Kumble was full of praise for him.
“He’s the fastest to 350 Test wickets, it’s something amazing. You know, I think Ashwin, not just as a bowler, but as an all-rounder, is an asset to the team. He’s a class act.”
And such a praise coming from India’s greatest spinner indeed tells how much of value Ashwin adds to the side. He is only 33 years old and still has a lot of battles left in him. And, if he can continue in the same vein, he can rightfully take his place amongst the greatest bowlers ever produced by India in Test cricket.
Ravichandran Ashwin is indeed on his way to everlasting greatness in the longest format of the game.
Note: All statistics as of January 7, 2020