A lot will be expected of spinner R Ashwin as India readies to face England in the first of the five-Test series in Nottingham starting Wednesday. Although the off-spinner does not possess a formidable record in England, Ashwin looked in good nick during the World Test Championship final claiming five wickets in the match.
Ashwin will be a likely starter in India’s XI for the first Test and the off-spinner, will be on the cusp of enlarging his legacy. With 413 wickets, Ashwin is currently fourth on the list of India’s leading wicket-takers, and if he can get five more wickets, the off-spinner will move up a position in the list and overtake Harbhajan Singh to be placed third on the list, only behind Anil Kumble and Kapil Dev.
With 211 wickets, Ashwin already holds the record for dismissing the most left-handed batsmen in Tests. Moreover, once considered a home-track bully, Ashwin’s record overseas – especially in SENA nations – has improved drastically. Before 2018, Ashwin had picked up on 24 wickets from nine Tests in South Africa, England, New Zealand and Australia combined, but in the last three years, Ashwin’s numbers have improved with the off-spinner having taken 43 wickets from 12 games.
Ashwin has also bowled 99 maidens in SENA countries since 2018 as compared to his 55 maidens before 2018. Ashwin also has a good record against England captain Joe Root, whom he has dismissed five times in Tests. However, all five dismissals have come in India. Earlier this year, Ashwin had surpassed Harbhajan to become India’s second-leading wicket-taker at home after Kapil Dev. He had dismissed Ben Stokes on Day 2 of the second Test in Chennai to move to 266 wickets.
“Lot of my teammates from that age, from that generation, you know, used to make fun of me, because I used to bowl like Bhajju Pa, my action, I used to try and bowl like him and all that,” Ashwin had said.
“So, from there on to come one and actually break the record of something that he possesses, has to be incredibly special. I didn’t know of it, now that I do know of it, I feel happy. Sorry, Bhajju Pa.”