Bowling wins Test matches. The most successful teams in history have been the ones that can take all 20 wickets on a regular basis.
Test cricket is the ultimate challenge for a bowler. Resilience, patience and consistency are important attributes that can separate great bowlers from the average ones when it comes to the red-ball format. While they may not be as celebrated in the media as batters, they arguably have to play a more integral role as part of a Test team.
2023 will be an important year for the personal legacies of some of the premier Test bowlers of this generation. Some may even be considering retirement, ending their Test careers on a high note. Let's take a look at three such bowlers who can achieve major milestones in this calendar year.
#1 James Anderson
James Anderson remains the highest wicket-taking fast-bowler of all time in Test cricket. He has taken 675 wickets in 177 matches at an average of 26 and a strike rate of 56. He is in a league of his own when it comes to longevity - he has been playing Test cricket at the highest level for 19 years now.
He can break two major records - crossing 700 wickets and overtaking Shane Warne's tally of 708 wickets to become the second highest wicket-taker in Test cricket history.
England are scheduled to play two series - a two-Test series in New Zealand and the Ashes at home in the summer of 2023. Anderson will definitely be eyeing the latter and potentially finishing his career on a high.
#2 Nathan Lyon
Australian off-spinner Nathan Lyon has taken 458 wickets in 114 matches at an average of 31.5 and a strike rate of 64. He has the most wickets by any active Test spinner. In the all-time list, he is second only to Warne and McGrath for Australia.
Lyon can breach the 500 wickets milestone, becoming only the third Australian and fourth spinner to achieve the feat in Test cricket.
Australia are scheduled to play the Border Gavaskar Trophy in India and the Ashes in England this year. They also have a high probability of making it to the World Test Championship final. Hence, Lyon will get to play 10 matches this year.
#3 Ravichandran Ashwin
Ravichandran Ashwin has been one of the best Test cricketers of our generation. Ever since his Test debut in 2011, he has been an impeccable performer with the ball and a more than useful lower-order batter. He has taken 449 wickets in 88 Tests at an average of 24 and a strike rate of 52.
Ashwin is already India's second highest-wicket taker in Test cricket. He overtook Kapil Dev's tally in the Sri Lanka Test series last year. He will be looking to reach the 500 Test wickets mark, becoming only the second Indian after Anil Kumble to do so.
India are scheduled to play the Border Gavaskar Trophy at home. If they get the desired results, they will also play in the World Test Championship final. In the next cycle, they will tour West Indies and South Africa next year for a 2-match series each. Hence, Ashwin will have a good opportunity to breach this milestone and cement his legacy as perhaps India's greatest match-winner in Test cricket.
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