Stats: Ishant Sharma becomes 4th Indian fast bowler to pick up 100 Test wickets in Asia
A couple of interesting milestones were reached within the first hour of day one in the fifth Test between India and England in Chennai. After Alastair Cook became the quickest batsman (in terms of career time-span) in the game history’s to complete 11,000 runs, Ishant Sharma etched his name in the record books as the 12th Indian bowler to pick up 100 wickets in Asia.
The 28-year old has become only the 4th Indian fast bowler to reach the landmark after Kapil Dev, Javagal Srinath and Zaheer Khan. In a list dominated by spinners, the tall seamer has managed to make his presence felt.
Current head coach and former leg-spinner Anil Kumble leads the list with as many as 419 wickets from 82 Tests. Another part of the ‘Spin Twins’ of the early 2000s, Harbhajan Singh is at a distant second with a round 300 scalps to his name.
India’s finest ever pacer, Kapil Dev comes in at third place with 279 wickets from 86 matches. The workhorse’s figures are all the more admirable considering his average of 29.01 on the placid pitches of India and Pakistan back in the 80s.
Next up is their modern-day maestro Ravichandran Ashwin whose record in Asia has been nothing short of phenomenal. From just 31 matches, the Tamil Nadu off-spinner has picked up 206 wickets at an astounding average of 20.54 and scarcely believable strike-rate of 43.8. In sharp contrast, his outside Asia figures read – 41 scalps from 13 matches at an average of 42.73 and strike-rate of 80.2.
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Sandwiched between the two spin titans in Bhagwath Chandrasekhar and Bishan Singh Bedi are the seam duo of Zaheer Khan and Javagal Srinath. While the canny left-armer played an instrumental role in India’s ascent to the top of the Test rankings during the latter part of the 2000s, the Karnataka pacer delivered plenty of remarkable performances in the subcontinent none so better than his 6/21 on a dry Ahmedabad surface against South Africa in 1996.
The iconic Vinoo Mankad’s contribution to Indian cricket during its formative years can be discerned from his impressive record in Asia. Aside from his exploits with the bat, he went on to scalp 115 wickets from 28 matches at an average which is only bettered by five bowlers.
In the footsteps of Pragyan Ojha and Subash Gupte comes Ishant who has picked up his 100th scalp in his 39th Test. If he stays fit and retains his position in the team, the seamer could eclipse both Zaheer and Srinath in the future to become the second most successful Indian fast bowler in Asian conditions. Just like his enduring legacy, Kapil does not seem likely to be surpassed anytime soon.
|Bishan Singh Bedi||33||143||26.12||78.4|
(*Note: All statistics are accurate as of 16th December, 2016 after Keaton Jennings’ dismissal)