500 runs in a year with the bat is a decent effort. 26 batsmen have done it this year, only three of whom are all-rounders. 50 wickets in a Test is an equally monumental feat with the ball, even more so. Only two bowlers, Ravichandran Ashwin and Rangana Herath have done it this year and we are close to the end of the calendar year.
Only 23 bowlers have done it in the last 10 years. So, when a player achieves that golden double of 500 runs and 50 wickets in Tests in a calendar year, it is a tribute to his skills with the bat and the ball, in a highly competitive environment. Ashwin achieved it during the ongoing Test match at Mohali against England and has joined a very illustrious group of cricketers to do so in the game’s long history.
Ashwin also became only the second Indian after Kapil Dev to achieve this phenomenal feat. Kapil Dev, Ian Botham and Shaun Pollock are the only three players to do so twice. Let’s take a look at the 7 players to have achieved the 500 runs – 50 wickets double.
#1 Ian Botham (England)
One of the greatest cricketing all-rounders the game has ever seen, Botham achieved the 500-50 rare double twice during the same period when Kapil did it. Botham did it for the first time in 1978 and in the process, became the first player ever to do it. He scored 597 runs in just 12 Tests at 39.8 with 3 centuries and picked up 66 wickets at an unbelievable average of 18.19 with six 5-wicket hauls.
What was stupendous about that effort was how few Tests he needed to do that – just 12. It helped that he played 9 of those 12 Tests in England and New Zealand where the ball does a lot off the seam and even the remaining three were in Australia where one gets pitches conducive to seam-bowlers.
The second time he achieved it was in 1981 when he scored 629 runs at 28.59 in 13 Tests and picked up 62 wickets at 25.54 with 4 five-wicket hauls.