ashwin
© AFP

India’s ace spinner Ravichandran Ashwin surely likes to take on the opposition captains. There’s no doubt that he is best spinner since 2010 and he may be considered as legend in future if Ashwin continues to performs the same way. His love for taking on opposition captains probably began last year during the second Test against Sri Lanka at Colombo, where he took the wicket of former Sri Lankan skipper Kumar Sangakkara in both innings of the match, which was his farewell Test as well. Ashwin did similarly in the third Test against South Africa at Nagpur by taking Proteas’ skipper AB de Villiers‘ wicket. Ashwin did it again in the ongoing first Test against New Zealand Kanpur, which was also the 500th Test for India.

Taking the wicket of New Zealand captain in both the innings is not the only thing which makes Ashwin’s wicket of Williamson special but it was also his 200th Test wicket and in this course he became the second fastest bowler after Clarrie Grimmett to reach this landmark. He could have been the joint-fastest if the fourth Test against West Indies in the Caribbean had not been interrupted by rain.

As per media reports, after reaching this landmark, when Ashwin was asked about being the second fastest, he said, “Maybe Clarrie Grimmett was a nicer man than I am. I think it just had to be that way. It’s fine, honestly. There are a lot of positives to look at and lots of good memories that I’ve created over the last five-six years of international cricket, and to look back and feel sore about it [the rain] is not the right way to go about my career. So, I’m just happy where I am right now.”

Talking about the wicket of Williamson, which he took in the second innings, Ashwin jokes, “Kane Williamson is not a bad 200th scalp,” and further added, “There are quite a few good wickets that I’ve had over a period of time. AB de Villiers in Nagpur was very well set up. Kane Williamson in this Test match in the first innings, I thought was a very, very good ball. Kumar Sangakkara in Sri Lanka… These are some special memories that I’ll always cherish in my cricketing career. I hope I can create more and more in the future.”

Ashwin’s place in the XI was questioned during the Australia tour in 2014-15 and after that he has made his comeback exceptionally well. “The last 80-100 wickets have been very, very good for me. Ever since I came back from Australia last year, and went to Bangladesh, I think that’s when I really started enjoying my bowling. I knew what I was doing very clearly, started planning my dismissals, knew exactly how to set batsmen up. It has been a wonderful journey over the last couple of years, I just hope it keeps going for some time,” said Ashwin.

He also spoke about the Kiwi left-handerd batsmen by giving his insight on how different they were as compared to others. “The way the New Zealand left-hand batsmen play is very different to the other left-handers. They don’t plonk their foot across, they plonk it right down the wicket, try to play inside out a lot. It will work on this wicket because it doesn’t have enough bounce, turn and carry. So it will work on this wicket. Just trying to change a bit of angles, and our targets were better today.”