Ravichandran Ashwin a veteran of 74 Tests has picked up 377 Test wickets. He is on the verge of reaching the 400 wicket club soon. Ashwin is one of the major reasons why India have been such a strong outfit in Tests. He has arguably been India’s greatest match-winner in the past decade (2010-19). While Ashwin’s record at home is unparalleled, people have often questioned his overseas numbers. He has constantly been pitted against the likes of Nathan Lyon and Yasir Shah to prove his greatness.
This was Ashwin’s fourth tour to Australia. Needless to say, it was his most memorable trip down under. He played a major part in India winning and retaining the Border-Gavaskar trophy. He was India’s major bowler during the first 3 Tests setting up class players like Steve Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, and David Warner. Ashwin comfortably out bowled home-spinner Nathan Lyon who failed to breach the 400 wicket mark during the series.
Was this Ashwin’s best overseas series?
Ravichandran Ashwin was asked by a section of media that whether this trip to Australia was his best overseas journey. Ashwin replied stating that, “Looking back, you can say that. I’ve always maintained that you cannot say this is the best or anything because you never know, something else could lie in front of you. Before the Adelaide game, I limited myself to a certain number of balls (in practice) because I just wanted to go there and get a feel of things.”
“It didn’t look like I was going to start the series in all honesty. But (Ravindra) Jadeja damaged his hamstring and that is why I got my opportunity in the first Test. Things fell in place and I also have been feeling over the last two years that I have been bowling well. Yes, 2018-19 (series in Australia) was good, but I think 2020-21 was one of the best if you compare the last three years.”
Ashwin elaborated on his battle with Steve Smith, he was quoted saying, “There has been a lot of noise about how I am bowling, and pitting me against someone like Nathan Lyon. During the previous tour in Adelaide, I picked up six wickets and kept on bowling despite a tear in the abdomen. After the match, there was a comparison between us with suggestions of how well Lyon bowled. I felt it was extremely insensitive towards a good performance.”
On comparisons with Nathan Lyon:
“I feel I have been constantly put under the microscope. So rather than me competing against Lyon, I thought I must be competing against Smith. Lyon is a lovely bowler and I have respect for him. But my focus was on something else. There were records that Smith had never got out to spinners in Australia. I wanted to turn that around.
A lot of people were talking about who will dismiss Smith. But nobody even gave me a chance. Then I made sure that people spoke about me at the end of the series.”
Ashwin has been battle-hardened and he can’t wait to take on England at home. This 4 match Test series may bring in 400 wickets as well. It surely promises to be an exciting time for a Test cricket fan.