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India vs West Indies: Hyderabad Test presents Ashwin a chance to join elite list of Indian bowlers

Hindustan Times logo Hindustan Times 12-10-2018
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Ravichandran Ashwin started his Test career in emphatic fashion, almost eight years ago, against West Indies on home soil. He ended the three-match series with 22 wickets, also winning the Man of the series award and in the process established himself as Team India’s premier wicket-taker in the longest format.

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Since then Ashwin has obliterated several records with his wicket-taking spree and helped India reach the zenith of Test rankings, by virtue of a rock solid home record. As the off-spin wizard races towards more milestones, the second Test against the Windies in Hyderabad provides him with an opportunity to join an elite list of Indian bowlers.

Ashwin has currently picked up 57 wickets from 10 Test matches against the Windies and is the sixth most successful Indian bowler against the Caribbean team. The Chennai-based tweaker can enter the top five in Hyderabad if he takes 6 wickets in the match, which doesn’t look beyond him given the quality of opposition.

Complete coverage: West Indies tour of India

Those ahead of Ashwin in the list include some of India’s finest bowlers ever. The list is headed by Kapil Dev, who picked up 89 wickets in 25 Tests against Windies. He is followed by Anil Kumble who has 74 wickets to his name from 17 Tests.

Three members of India’s famous spin quartet of the 70s complete the top 5. Srinivas Venkataraghavan (68 wickets in 23 Tests), Bhagwat Chandrasekhar (65 wickets in 15 Tests) and Bishen Singh Bedi (62 wickets in 18 Tests) are the ones whom Ashwin can leap ahead of with a good showing at Hyderabad.

Important to note that Ashwin’s strike-rate (number of ball per wicket) of 42.3 is far better than the rest in the list. It also needs to be considered that the rest of the bowlers played against some of the finest West Indian batsmen to have ever played the game and also picked wickets on difficult tracks in the Caribbean.

So, while we might not be comparing apples to apples here, but there is no denying the fact that Ashwin has been a force to reckon with in Test cricket and India have a big match winner in the off-spinner.

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