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Sunday, February 12, 2017

Ravichandran Ashwin ~ fastest to take 250 wickets in 45 Tests !!

Not many would have sat to watch day 4 of India Bangladesh Test no. 2249 at Uppal, Hyderabad.  At stumps, Bangla were 103/3 requiring another 356 or not lose 7 wickets to save the Test.    On 25th over of 2nd innings, Mominul Haque found himself awkwardly placed to a ball that turned sharply, his defensive push resulted in an edge for a catch to Rahane at slips ….  .. .. and that was wicket no. 250 for Ravichandran Ashwin ~ another great milestone. 

Recall that only in Sept. 2016, Ashwin became  the 2nd  fastest bowler to claim 200 wickets.  Kiwis were faltering on chase – Ash on high ! – Over : 9.1 – Ravichandran Ashwin to Ross Taylor,  ball spins like a top – from wide outside off, it keeps coming in – Taylor has no clue at all – stands erect in front – leg stump visible – massive appeal – Umpire Kettleborough says no ! -  what !! – it could have missed either leg or off but certainly not the middle – Ashwin denied rich celebrations… that was  200,  a great number – more so, for the bowler – not many reach there –

India was hailed as land of spinners – when the famous quartet Bishan Bedi, Chandrasekhar, Erapalli Prasanna and Venkatraghavan prospered – there were the likes of VV Kumar, Doshi, Shivalkar, Goel, Hans, Dhiraj Parsana, Ramnarayan,  Shukla, Raghuram Bhat and more – who could not make the cut over the dominance of the quartet and Ranji matches were ‘bowler-dominated !’. Dilip Rasiklal Doshi,  was one of only two Test bowlers who played in their first tests after the age of thirty, yet went on to take 100 wickets, the other being Clarrie Grimmett.  There have been some quality off-spinners apart from Erapalli Prasanna and Srinivasan Venkatraghavan.  Harbhajan was quite  successful – remember his bowling during that Aussie tour in 2001, and that Kolkatta hat-trick.... there was Shivlal Yadav too (M Venkatramana, Ashish Kapoor, Ashok Patel, Arshad Ayub, Sarandeep Singh, Gopal Sharma) – all Off-spinners, who played for India at some point of time.  Ravichandran Ashwin prospered so well at home, and gone longway proving his mettle ! 

Ashwin’s 200 in  37 matches placed  him just ahead of Dennis Lillee and Waqar Younis, behind only former Australia leg-spinner Clarrie Grimmett on 36.  But for two rain-affected Tests in the West Indies series, he was a good chance to beat Grimmett to the mark. Ashwin got there in his 37th  Test while Grimmett took 36.

He tormented the visiting Kiwis and his  enormous form continued against England as he took 28 wickets in the five-match Test series while in the three matches he played against New Zealand, Ashwin claimed 27 wickets. 

Now into the elite club of 45, Ravi Ashwin is the fastest.  Other in top 5 are the legendary Dennis Lillee(Australia) – 48 Tests; Dale Steyn(South Africa)- 49 Test; Allan Donald(Australia)- 50 Tests & Waqar Younis(Pakistan) – 51 Tests – no spinners there. 

Dennis the menace Lillee was complemented by Jeff Thomson and good catching by Rodney Marsh and other close catchers – then there was the home advantage and some decisions that always went in his favour.  Off his over all 70 tests, in which he took 355, Lillee played 44 Tests at home taking 231 wickets. 

News from Down Under states that former Australian leg-spinner Stuart MacGill has left cricketing officials baffled by failing to turn up to court in person or have legal representation in his $2.6 million case against Cricket Australia. MacGill issued a writ against CA in January 2015 claiming he was owed $1.6 million in match payments and prizemoney, and almost $1 million in interest, plus costs. MacGill, who played 44 Tests and claimed 208 wickets at 29.01, had claimed CA had neglected or failed to pay him injury payments over a two-year period from May 2008 when he was unable to play Test cricket because of injury. The final amount of $1,640,890 included tour payments for 15 away Test matches ($846,090), tour payments for 11 home game Test matches ($140,800), retainer payments at $297,000 for 52 weeks, retainer payments at $333,000 for 52 weeks and prizemoney for nine Test series at $27,000. In the writ, MacGill said CA had signed him for one year and offered him a further one-year contract for 2008-09 campaign before he was "incapable" of playing as a result of "injuries and complications from injuries".

Regards – S. Sampathkumar

12th Feb 2017. 

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