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Thursday, August 12, 2021

Outrageous the best bowler is not in the team !!! - leaving out Ashwin !!!

**  6 – 3 – 1 – 1 – 2 ** - decipher what ?????

Some have ill-luck, while some get a raw deal ! Strange are the ways of people !  -  how would anyone measure a bowler – ‘by the no. of wickets taken; in the matches he plays !”

Usain Bolt put Jamaica on top of the world with his prowess in sprint race .. .. back in 2008 at Beijing – a confident crew of sprinters from Jamaica became the first nation in Olympic history to sweep the gold, silver and bronze in the event when Shelly-Ann Fraser finished in 10.78 seconds, followed by teammates Sherone Simpson and Kerron Stewart, both at 10.98. Can you ever imagine Jamaica deciding to nominate say 4 athletes without nominating – ‘Shelly-Ann Fraser’ – though theoretically, still they could have a 1-2-3 podium finish !  

It is simple no fussy logic that everyone tries to put their best foot forward – have the best of the team selected and in every team – the best star performer in the side is automatic choice, or so one thought.  When we played games at local level (be it any sport) – the team selection always started with the best player – everyone would shout, I want player no. 1 and then proceed to pick the best possible combination ……… … but team India, Captain Virat Kohli, Coach Ravi Shastri, BCCI seemingly has a different formula – what ails Indian Team ???

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**  6 – 3 – 1 – 1 – 2 ** - decipher what ?????  - that is how Ravichandran Ashwin’s figures put him … 6th fastest to 100 wickets; 3rd fastest to 200 wickets; 1 fastest to 300 wickets; 1st  fastest to 350 (combined)  & 2nd fastest to 400 – among all bowlers that would include all time greats like Muthiah Muralitharan, legendary Dennis Lillee, Richard Hadlee, Kapil Dev, Andy Roberts, Malcolm Marshall and all those who played Test Cricket ! 

For long time, famed Indian spin quartet dominated – among them too, Srinivasa Venkatraghavan received a raw deal – not playing his matches continuously.  In the end their figures read : Bishan Bedi 266 in 67 tests; Bhagwat Chandrasekhar 242/58, Erapalli Prasanna 189/49 and Venkat 156/57.. .. .. among them Venkat had the lengthiest span and was not picked up continuously .. ..

Statistically fastest to 100 reads:  GA Lohman (Eng) 100/16 (played in 1896); CTB Turner 100/17 (1887); SF Barnes 100/17 (1901); CV Grimmet 100/17 (1931); Yasir Shah 100/17 (2014) and Ravi Ashwin 100/18 (2013)

Fastest to 200 :  Yasir Shah 200/33; CV Grimmet 200/36; Ashwin 200/37; Dennis Lillee 200/38; Waqar Younis 200/38 & Dale Steyn 200/39

Fastest to 300 : Ravichandran Ashwin 300/54; Dennis Lillee 300/56; Muralitharan 300/58; Richard Hadlee 300/61 & Malcolm Marshall 300/61.

Fastest to 350 : Murali 350/66; Ashwin 350/66; Richard Hadlee 350/69; Dale Steyn 350/69 & Dennis Lillee 350/70. 

The latest milestone was 400 test wickets – Murali in 72 tests; Ashwin in 77; Hadlee 80, Dale Steyn 80 & Rangana Herath in 84 !!!!

In Feb 2021,  Nine years and 110 days after he made his debut against the West Indies Ravichandran Ashwin, 34 - reached the landmark with Jofra Archer's wicket in the 24th  over on day Two of the fourth Test match in Ahmedabad. The previous  12 months had been phenomenal for the Tamil Nadu spinner as he went about picking 39 wickets in just seven Test matches. Such has been the pace that when India's Test series in Australia started, Nathan Lyon was on 390 wickets and Ashwin on 365 - both in the race to 400. Lyon is currently at 399 while Ashwin  zoomed past the mark- now stranded with 417, because he is not being selected.

By design, Ashwin is the best bowler for India – he should be playing for the Country in Tests / ODI & T20I – but he is not in the playing X1 today is the painful fact !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
12th Aug 2021.


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