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Birthday boy Ravichandran Ashwin set to break Waqar Younis' 200 Test wickets record

India Today logo India Today 17-09-2016
© AP Photo

Just like a fine wine, India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin is getting better with age. And probably, his best is yet to come.

Ashwin, who turns 30 today, is experiencing a purple patch in his career, where he is winning matches for India not only with his exceptional bowling but also by batting brilliantly.

PLETHORA OF RECORDS

Recently, in the Test series against West Indies, the world No.1 all-rounder in the longest format set a plethora of records.

In the four-match series, Ashwin scored 235 runs with two centuries and claimed 17 wickets to help India register their biggest Test series victory on the Caribbean soil with a 2-0 win over the West Indies.

The leader of India's spin attack also bagged the Man-of-the-Series award - the sixth of his career - for his special performance. The feat is the most by any Indian in the longest format of the game, surpassing the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Kapil Dev, Harbhajan Singh, Rahul Dravid, Mohammad Azharuddin and Sourav Ganguly.

Ashwin was also the quickest to reach the milestone. It took him just 36 Test matches and 13 series to win his 6th MoS, sailing past Malcolm Marshall (21 series), Curtly Ambrose (27) and Steve Waugh (54), who all have won the equal number of player of the series honours.

Both Tendulkar (74) and Sehwag (39) have five awards each in Test cricket.

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© Reuters Photo

AMAZING GRIMMETT

However, Ashwin will be eyeing another feather to add to his already decorated cap when he takes the field against New Zealand in the first of the three-match Test series, starting on September 22 in Kanpur.

Ashwin, who has 193 scalps in 36 Tests, needs just seven wickets to go past legends, Australia's Dennis Lillee and Pakistan's Waqar Younis, as the second fastest to 200 wickets.

Lillee and Younis are tied at No.2 spot in the list of the fastest to 200 Test wickets. Both the fast bowlers reached the milestone in their 38th Test match.

The No.1 spot is held by former Australia leg-spinner Clarrie Grimmett, who took just 36 Tests to get to the 200th wicket mark.

The upcoming series against New Zealand will be a good opportunity for Indian spinners to showcase their skills on the turning tracks of India.

New Zealand batsmen are notorious for surrendering against quality spin and it presents Ashwin with the best chance to make his 30th birthday a memorable one.

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