Ravichandran Ashwin © AFP
Ravichandran Ashwin took 21 wickets in three Tests in Sri Lanka © AFP

Ravichandran Ashwin was declared the Man of the Series in the three-Test series in Sri Lanka. It is his fourth such award in the five series which India won since his debut. BharathSeervi lists players with highest rate of winning Man of the Series award in Tests. READ: India’s 2-1 Test series win over Sri Lanka: Statistical highlights

Ravichandran Ashwin took 21 wickets at 18.09 with two five-fors and a ten-for in the Test series against Sri Lanka. He also scored a half-century in the third Test at SSC batting at No. 9. India won the series 2-1 and Ashwin was named Man of the Series. VVS Laxman column: A morale-boosting Test series win

In a career spanning 28 Tests in four year Ashwin has gone on to win four Man of the Series awards. He has played in just 11 Test series so far. Since Ashwin’s Test debut against West Indies in November 2011 the Indian team has won five Test series; Ashwin has been the Man of the Series in four of them. Astonishingly, he has won only three Man of the Match awards! READ: India vs Sri Lanka 2015, and teams winning a three-Test series after losing the first Test

There are players who win Tests, but Ashwin seems to be the one who wins series. In fact, he began his Test career with a Man of the Series award in his first series itself. He took 22 wickets and scored a century in the three Tests of his debut series. READ: India vs Sri Lanka Test series 2015: India marks out of 10

India’s Test series wins since Ashwin’s debut

Margin Opposition Venue Season Man of the Series
2-0 (3) West Indies Home 2011-12 RavichandranAshwin
2-0 (2) New Zealand Home 2012 RavichandranAshwin
4-0 (4) Australia Home 2012-13 RavichandranAshwin
2-0 (2) West Indies Home 2013-14 Rohit Sharma
2-1 (3) Sri Lanka Away 2015 RavichandranAshwin

–          The only series in which Ashwin did not win the award was the farewell series of Sachin Tendulkar against West Indies. Rohit Sharma scored two hundreds in two innings in his first series. READ: India finally break their shackles with historic series win against Sri Lanka

–          Ashwin had a decent performance in that series: he claimed 12 wickets and scored a century.

–          In these series victories, India lost only one Test match – to Sri Lanka at Galle.

Ashwin’s statistics in the series he won Man of the Series

M W Ave SR 5WIs 10WMs R Ave 50s/100s Opposition Season
3 22 22.90 46.30 2 0 121 40.33 0/1 West Indies 2011-12
2 18 13.11 29.70 3 1 69 69.00 0/0 New Zealand 2012
4 29 20.10 49.90 4 1 20 5.00 0/0 Australia 2012-13
3 21 18.09 32.80 2 1 94 15.66 0/1 Sri Lanka 2015

No player has even three Man of the Series awards in his first 28 Tests. All the others who got four or more such awards played more than 50. READ: Ishant Sharma takes 200th Test wicket on Day 5 of India vs Sri Lanka 2015, 3rd Test at Colombo (SSC)

Least matches and series among those who won four Man of the Series awards (less than 100)

Player Team M MoS
Ravichandran Ashwin India 28 4
Richard Hadlee New Zealand 86 8
Imran Khan Pakistan 88 8
Malcolm Marshall West Indies 81 6
Dale Steyn South Africa 80 5
Heath Streak Zimbabwe 65 4
Curtly Ambrose West Indies 98 6
Waqar Younis Pakistan 87 5
Alan Donald South Africa 72 4
Andrew Flintoff England 79 4
Aravinda de Silva Sri Lanka 93 4
AB de Villiers South Africa 98 4

–          Richard Hadlee, Imran Khan and Malcolm Marshall made their debuts in 1970s when the Man of the Match and Man of the Series were not common.

If a cut-off of two Man of the Series awards is considered, only Shane Bond (2 from 18 matches) had played fewer Tests than Ashwin.

This is a good start to Ashwin’s career. Only time will tell if he could maintain this throughout his career for a long time and keep winning series for India, especially overseas. READ: Did Ishant Sharma and Dhammika Prasad really cross a line in India vs Sri Lanka 2015, 3rd Test?

(Bharath Seervi is a cricket statistician who is obsessed with digging numbers, facts and records related to the game. An active member of Society of Cricket Statisticians of India, he blogs at www.cricketseervistats.blogspot.com. He can be followed on Twitter at @SeerviBharath and on Facebook here)