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Sunday, November 28, 2021

Come On !! - Ash !!! - another great milestone beckons .. .. just 1 away.

Ravichandran  Ashwin  got young !is this grammatically correct statement ?  

For ardent Cricket fan, the game is more intriguing than the language and its grammar – Ashwin  is on the verge of another personal milestone ! and We wish him getting this sooner tomorrow morning and that would take India closer to another Test victory at Kanpur. 

Today morning session – Team India was in jitters -  Tim Southee, Kyle Jamieson and Ajaz Patel had reduced India to 51 for 5, and with such a dramatic collapse, Kiwis held the upper hand.  As a Senior Pro opined, is this the last test for some seniors – some pundits referred this to : Cheteswar Pujara, Wriddhiman Saha, Ishant Sharma and the Captain Ajinkya Rahane, who had another failure.  Ravi Ashwin strode in, stood tall, played some elegant shots and together with debutant Shreyas Iyer eased the nerves.. .. then  Iyer and Saha added 64 for the seventh wicket to take India's lead past 200. India finally declared on 234 for 7, and in the four overs possible before bad light forced stumps, Ashwin dismissed Will Young lbw with the one that kept low. Had Young opted for the review in time, he would have survived as replays showed the ball was spinning past leg stump. 

So India has one day to get 9 wickets – NZ 280 more and Ashwin – first one more wicket.  .. .. he is on the verge with 417 wickets now! Just one needed to whizz past Harbhajan Singh’s tally.  

In the first innings  Ashwin had Latham too.   It was another Ash beauty – tossed up, spun, beat the outside edge and rapped Latham on the pads. Umpire Nitin Menon, turned down the vociferous appeal for lbw – stand-in keeper Sreekar Bharat was not conclusive and Ajinkya Rahane not smart enough to review - replays showed  categorically that all 3 parameters had been ticked and Latham would have been on his way back -  was on 66 then.  A little later, there was some fireworks – not from the bat.  Umpire Nitin  Menon and Ashwin were involved in hard argument in  what seemed like an intervention on Ashwin's follow-through.  While the Umpire can certainly penalize any bowler for infringement, for running on danger area – that was not to be.  When bowling from around the wicket, the offspinner was delivering from close to the stumps and then moving across towards the left-hander's leg side to avoid stepping on to the danger area. In the process, he seemed to be obstructing the umpire's view and that of the non-striker too.  Feel that Umpire has no role in directing how the bowler should deliver and Umpire had a chat with Captain Rahane too.  Ashwin was clearly frustrated.  India's coach Rahul Dravid, too, was seen making a visit to match referee Javagal Srinath's room.  

At the start of the year, 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. While Lyon is  still static  at 399-  Ashwin  zoomed past the mark.  

India’s best bowler was improperly treated and kept out during England Series – before the start of this Test   - Ravichandran Ashwin has taken 413 in 79 tests; Wasim Akram 414/104; Harbhajan 417/103; Shaun Pollock 421/108; Richard Hadlee 431/86; Ranganna Herath 433/93, legendary Kapil Dev 434/131 … .. to Kumble 619; Jimmy Anderson 630; shane Warne 708 and the pinnacle of Muthiah Muralitharan 800 in 133 tests  

Ashwin’s rise sounds so meteoric - 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 !  

Now at 417 in his 80th test only 2 Indian Bowlers are above him.  The great Kapil Dev with 434 in 131 tests and Anil Kumble 619 in 132 tests. For those of us interested in statistics, only 23 Indian bowlers have taken 100 wickets or more in Test Cricket – of the list – there are 7 left arm spinners, 3 leg spinners, 8 pace bowlers and 5 off spinners.  Among the Offies – Ashwin has 417 in his 80th; Harbhajan Singh 417 in 103 tests; Erapalli Anandasundara Prasanna 189/ 49; Srinivasan Venkatraghavan 156/57 and Shivlal Yadav 102/35 tests.  

So wishing Ashwin all the best to go past Harbhajan Singh tomorrow morning and .. .. .. overtake Anil Kumble too in his career.  

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
28th Nov. 2021.