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By Nishad Pai Vaidya
Since his debut in November 2011, Ravichandran Ashwin has been a vital component in India’s line-up and the captain’s trusted strike-bowler. His consistency and dominance at home is reflected in prolific numbers — a fantastic record for someone so young in Test cricket. While his primary role in the side has been that of a strike-bowler, his responsible approach with the bat has also added tremendous value to the line-up.
After India’s win against Australia at Chennai in the ongoing Test series, Ashwin became the fastest to the milestone of 500 runs and 75 wickets in Test cricket.
List of the fastest to achieve the said feat in Test cricket:
|Sir Richard Hadlee||19|
What makes Ashwin’s feat even more remarkable is that he is ahead of legends of the calibre of Imran Khan, Sir Ian Botham and Sir Richard Hadlee. Another interesting aspect is that Sir Garry Sobers and Jacques Kallis, arguably the two greatest all-rounders the world has seen, aren’t on this list. As statistician Mohandas Menon tweeted, the South African completed the feat in only his 46th Test match, whereas, Sobers took 42 Tests to overhaul the mark.
Responding to a query from Shashi Tharoor, Menon also spelt out the fastest to the double of 1000 runs and 100 wickets in Tests. Here is a list of those players and the matches they took to complete the double:
|Sir Richard Hadlee||28|
|Shakib Al Hasan||28|
At the time of writing, Ashwin has 75 wickets and 599 runs to his name in 13 Tests. While he is expected to reach 100 wickets before 20 Tests, it is highly unlikely that he would score his 1000th run. His batting has always been an added bonus and he isn’t an all-rounder in the strictest sense. Furthermore, he bats lower down the order and may not have too many opportunities to race to the mark and possibly complete the double.
Nevertheless, it is a phenomenal achievement for Ashwin as he has shown tremendous maturity early in his career. Prior to his Test debut, many felt he was the typical one-day bowler who would also shine in T20 cricket. His exploits in the Indian Premier League (IPL) often eclipsed his good domestic First-Class record. However, he has brushed aside those baseless stereotyping and done well playing the traditional format of the game.
An initiation into Test cricket is never easy as a young player may get overawed by the big stage. Ashwin has dealt with the pressure of expectations very well and has in fact surpassed them. He has played most of his games at home and his real test will come when he gets an extended spell away. The only blemish in his otherwise fantastic record at home was the series against England, where he failed to make a mark.
Fastest to 100 wickets a possibility
Ashwin may still have a shot at two unique records. George Lohmann is the fastest to 100 wickets in Test cricket as he took 16 matches for it. With 75 wickets from 13 Tests, Ashwin may well have a chance to equal it if he delivers great performances in the next three games against Australia. However, a more probable record would be that of being the fastest off-spinner to 100 wickets. Saeed Ajmal is the record holder as he took 19 Tests to moved past Erapalli Prasanna who took 100 wickets in 20 Tests.
Will Ashwin rewrite the record books with his stupendous run at home?
(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and an analyst, anchor and voice-over artist for the site’s YouTube Channel. He shot to fame by spotting a wrong replay during IPL4 which resulted in Sachin Tendulkar’s dismissal. His insights on the game have come in for high praise from cerebral former cricketers. He has also participated on live TV talk-shows on cricket. Nishad can be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/nishad_44)
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