Ravichandran Ashwin achieved a huge milestone on Monday, during the fifth day of the 1st Test between India and New Zealand in Kanpur. He surpassed veteran India off spinner Harbhajan Singh to become the third highest wicket-taker in Tests for India. Ashwin has been India’s biggest match-winner with ball in Tests at home over the past decade and almost took India to another win on Monday, only for New Zealand debutant Rachin Ravindra to save the day for his team.
Ashwin surpassed Harbhajan in his 80th Test and his achievement has been lauded by many including Team India head coach Rahul Dravid.
Ashwin’s long time state mate from Tamil Nadu, Abhinav Mukund, who has played Test cricket in the past, showered praise on the off spinner and revealed that Ashwin used to bowl in school cricket using Harbhajan’s action.
“For someone who used to bowl using Harbhajan Singh’s action in school, to surpass him on the highest wicket takers list is truly phenomenal. Congratulations Ravi Ashwin on yet another achievement, wishing you many more!,” Mukund wrote on social media platform Koo.
Ashwin has been India’s biggest weapon in the longest format and has won several matches with the ball as well as with the bat. Ashwin’s strike-rate of 52.7 is the fourth best behind that of Dale Steyn, Sir Richard Hadlee and Glenn Mcgrath among the 16 bowlers who are currently part of the 400 Test wickets club. This makes him the spinner with the best strike-rate in this club, which also includes legends like Kumble, Shane Warne and world record holder Muttiah Muralitharan.
Team India head coach Rahul Dravid, who played with Ashwin towards the end of his Test career, spoke about how the off spinner has evolved over the years.
“He has just evolved, he has just kept growing. He is one of those guys who keeps thinking about the game, keeps changing, keeps evolving, that’s why he (has) got where he has. You don’t achieve what Ashwin has achieved without growing and improving and evolving. It is a pleasure to have someone like him in the dressing room and to work (with). I am really happy for him,” Dravid said.
Ashwin contributed with both bat and ball in the match. He ended the match with figures of 6/117 and played crucial knocks of 38 and 32 in the first and second innings respectively.
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