Ashwin Ravichandran became the third-highest wicket-taker for India in Test cricket when he dismissed Tom Latham in the first Test against New Zealand in Kanpur on Monday.
The 35-year-old took his 418th wicket, surpassing fellow off-spinner Harbhajan Singh. Only Anil Kumble and Kapil Dev have more wickets than Ashwin as things stand. Ashwin finished the Test with 419 wickets to his name, as the match ended in a draw.
The Tamil Nadu cricketer reached the milestone with what was a crucial wicket for India, as Latham was a set batter on Day 5, having scored 52 off 146. The off-spinner got the breakthrough with an inside edge onto the stumps. He went on to pick up another wicket, that of Tom Blundell.
Here’s a look at India’s top wicket-takers in Tests:
Most Test wickets for India
“I would like to congratulate Ashwin on his milestone. Well done and hope he wins many more matches for India,” Harbhajan Singh, who now moves down to fourth in the list, told PTI.
“I never believed in comparisons. We played our best cricket in different times, against different opposition. I had done my best for the country back then and ditto for Ashwin, he did his best now,” the former India spinner said.
Ashwin, in an interview with ESPNCricinfo in 2015, had spoken about how he turned into an offspinner because of Harbhajan.
“I think he was one of my role models when I started bowling offspin,” Ashwin had said. “I was an opening batsman who used to bowl fast-medium with the new ball. Then an injury prompted me to stay away from the game. I started bowling offspin after seeing what he did in 2001 [against Australia] and that is where it began. India needed a role model like Harbhajan Singh back then, somebody who could start winning games for India with the ball. That is where my love for offspin began.”
Among all time-leading wicket-takers in men’s Test matches, Ashwin is now the fifth most successful spinner, taking Harbhajan’s place behind Muttiah Muralitharan, Shane Warne, Anil Kumble and Rangana Herath.
Head coach Rahul Dravid on Monday drew attention to the manner in which Ashwin has “grown” and “evolved” into a champion off-spinner.
“I think it’s a phenomenal achievement. I think you know Harbhajan Singh was a really fine bowler, someone I played a lot of cricket with; terrific bowler for India and what Ashwin has done, to be able to go past him in just 80 Test matches is a phenomenal achievement,” Dravid said at the post-match media conference.
“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,” added Dravid.
Leading wicket takers in Test cricket
Earlier this year, he became the second fastest (in terms of matches) to reach 400 Test wickets.
Fastest to 400 Test wickets
|Player||Opposition||Ground||Match start date for 400th wicket||Debut||Time||Mat|
|Muralitharan||v Zimbabwe||Galle||12 Jan 2002||28 Aug 1992||9y 137d||72|
|Ashwin||v England||Ahmedabad||24 Feb 2021||6 Nov 2011||9y 110d||77|
|Hadlee||v India||Christchurch||2 Feb 1990||2 Feb 1973||17y 0d||80|
|Steyn||v Bangladesh||Dhaka||30 Jul 2015||17 Dec 2004||10y 225d||80|
|Herath||v Pakistan||Abu Dhabi||28 Sep 2017||22 Sep 1999||18y 6d||84|
Here are some reactions to Ashwin’s feat:
Stats for men’s Tests only and courtesy ESPNCricinfo; updated as of tea on day five in the Kanpur Test.