Here are 20 reasons why R Ashwin is India's best all-rounder right now
R Ashwin is the best all-rounder India has had since Kapil Dev and these statistics will prove that once and for all. Numbers don't lie and these are so impressive that even his detractors will have to clap
R Ashwin (L) succesafully appeals for an LBW decision against England batsman Ben Stokes on the third day of the third Test match between India and England at The Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Mohali on Monday. Pic/AFP
Ravichandran Ashwin is not only India's spin spearhead but also a vital cog as a batsman in Virat Kohli's plan to dominate world cricket.
Ashwin put up a lion-hearted performance at Mohali scoring a 72 and bagging four wickets as India produced a clinical performance to cruise to a comfortable eight-wicket victory on the fourth day of the third Test against England and thereby take a 2-0 lead in the five-match series.
Ashwin has taken 15 wickets in the series so far and accumulated 239 runs at an average of 47.80 also proving that he is the right choice for the crucial No. 6 batting position.
Ashwin, who was the fastest in the Test cricket history to take 75 wickets and score more than 500 runs, has come in for praise from all quarters for his all-round performance. And while it may be too early to rate him as the cricketer to fill the void left by the legendary Kapil Dev, the Chennai lad is definitely the best all-rounder India has at the moment.
Indian batting legend and commentator Sunil Gavaskar is known for his straight talk and he believes the 30-year-old spinner has the capability to even open the batting for India. Well, if that ain't a vote of confidence than what is...
Legendary India tweaker Erapalli Prasanna had also rated the offie as the best spinner in the cricket world.
If these are enough, how about some numbers. After all, numbers don't lie.
Well, here are some statistical highlights that prove why Ravichandran Ashwin is the best all-rounder India has had in a while:
1. Ravichandran Ashwin (72), Ravindra Jadeja (90) and Jayant Yadav (55) provided the first occasion of a number seven, eight and nine recording fifty-plus scores in the same Test innings for India in the first innings at Mohali vs England. In all, the said instance is the seventh in the history of Test cricket.
2. Ashwin has dismissed England skipper and opener Alastair Cook seven times in nine Tests. The four bowlers to have taken Cook's wicket more times than Ashwin are -- Mitchell Johnson (9), Ishant Sharma (8), Morne Morkel (8) and Ryan Harris (8). Australia's Ed Cowan and Cook are the two batsmen dismissed by Ashwin most times in Tests -- 7 times each.
3. Ashwin (72) has posted his highest score while batting at number seven, eclipsing the 70 at Rajkot in the first Test of the current series.
R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja walk off the field after the end of the 2nd day's play of 3rd India-England test match in Mohali on Sunday. Pic/PTI
4. Ashwin has posted three 50-plus innings in the present series -- a distinction recorded by him for the first time in a Test series. His scores being 70 at Rajkot, 58 at Visakhapatnam and an unbeaten 57 at Mohali.
5. Ashwin, during his unbeaten 57, has become the second Indian all-rounder to manage 500 runs or more apart from capturing 50 wickets in the same calendar year in Tests -- his tally being 530 runs (ave.48.18) and 56 wickets at 22.60 runs apiece in 10 Tests. Kapil Dev had achieved the distinction twice in 1979 and 1983. Overall seven all-rounders have accomplished the double 10 times in a calendar year in Tests.
6. Ashwin has become the fifth Indian all-rounder to achieve the double of 1000 runs and 100 wickets in Tests at home -- the first four being Vinoo Mankad, Kapil Dev, Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh.
7. Ashwin has scored five 50-plus scores in 12 innings in Tests in 2016 - equalling the second most for India. Only Cheteshwar Pujara with seven in 13 innings is ahead of Ashwin. Virat Kohli also has five such scores in 15 innings this year.
8. R Ashwin has taken 59 wickets in 10 Tests so far in 2016, the most by any. He went past Rangana Herath's tally of 54 wickets in eight Tests this year during his match-winning performance against England in Vizag. He finished as the leading wicket-taker in Tests last year as well with 62 scalps.
9. Ashwin with 235 scalps has the most wickets in Test cricket after 42 matches, beating legendary Australian leg-spinner Clarrie Grimmett. Grimmett took 216 wickets in 37 Tests.
10. R Ashwin has taken 22nd five-fors in Test cricket. Though he is only 15th on the rung of bowlers with most fifers in Tests, the offie has a long way to go in international cricket and should surpass many of the greats ahead of him. Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan with 67 fifers leads the way, followed by Aussie leg-spinner Shane Warne with 37, Kiwi legendary pacer Sir Richard Hadlee with 36 and current India coach and former leggie Anil Kumble with 35.
11. Ashwin had become the second fastest ever and the quickest Indian to reach 200 Test wickets when he got rid of New Zealand captain Kane Williamson in the first Test in Kanpur in September.
12. Ashwin took nine wickets in his maiden Test against West Indies, the second-highest by an Indian debutant after Narendra Hirwani's 16, and won the Man-of-the-Match award. It only got better from there: he registered nine five-fors in his first 16 Tests and in 2013, broke Erapalli Prasanna's Indian record for the fastest to 100 Test wickets by reaching the landmark in his 18th game.
13. Ashwin, who has won seven Man of the Series awards, is already ahead of legendary all-rounders Kapil Dev, Ian Botham, Imran Khan and Richard Hadlee after 40 Tests.
14. Ashwin holds the records for being the fastest Indian to 50, 100 and 150 Test wickets. He got his 50th wicket in his ninth Test (beating previous holder Anil Kumble by one match), 100th in his 18th Test (beating previous holder EAS Prasanna by two games) and 150th scalp in hi 29th Test (beating previous holder EAS Prasanna by five games).
15. Ashwin is the joint fastest -- along with Ian Botham and Jack Gregory -- to reach the double of having taken 50 wickets and scored 500 runs in Tests. All three cricketers got to their landmarks in their 11th Test. Among all Indians with the 100 wicket-1,000 run double, Ashwin’s batting average of 34.26 is second only to that of Ravi Shastri. His bowling average of 25.20 is the best among all-rounders, which makes his overall numbers better than the likes of Kapil Dev, Vinoo Mankad, and Anil Kumble.
16. Ashwin's tally of six ten-wicket hauls in a Test match is bettered only by Anil Kumble (8).
17. Ashwin enjoys an outstanding record in Test wins -- his tally being 163 wickets in 23 Tests, including 18 five-wicket hauls and five instances of ten wickets or more in a Test match.
18. Ashwin's tally of 163 wickets in wins is the third highest for India in Tests next only to the 288 by Anil Kumble and 221 by Harbhajan Singh.
19. Ashwin's distinction of taking 200 wickets in 37 Tests is the second fastest by a bowler in Tests next only to Australia's Clarrie Grimmett (37).
20. His batting average of 34.98 is better than the averages of world-class all rounders like Kapil Dev, Ian Botham, Richard Hadlee and Imran Khan, who averaged approximately 31, 33, 27 and 37 respectively.
R Ashwin continues to be numero uno all-rounder in ICC Test rankings
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Do you know these interesting facts about India's leading bowler R Ashwin