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Friday, February 16, 2024

Nation is proud of Ash magical milestone of 500 Test wickets !!

By looks, we consider, we feel some are very intelligent – our favourite writer Srirangam Rangarajan (Sujatha) was one .. .. Cricketer S Venkatraghavan resembled him not only in looks but in wisdom too.  .. .. and Ashwin stands tall there !


Albert Einstein is a name that is  always considered synonymous with intelligence. Einstein was a Theoretical Physicist who is considered to be the greatest physicist in the world. People at the time were so impressed and obsessed with his mind that after his death, Thomas Harvey made 170 pieces of his brain and sent it to different scientists for research.  Einstein   certainly was  one of the greatest scientists of all time. In terms of mathematical ability, Einstein perhaps would not come close to matching today’s leading physicists like Stephen Hawking.  The depth and range of his achievements are not without precedent, either. Far less well-known scientists such as Carl Gauss and Leonhard Euler made fundamental contributions in many more fields. The person with perhaps the strongest claim to being the smartest person of all time is the Victorian polymath Sir Francis Galton, whose work on everything from statistics and evolution to the ‘wisdom of crowds’ is still used every day by researchers a century after his death. 

13 years ago ! – it  was over 32.5 Ashwin in his debut match hit the timber – Darren Bravo the  victim – the 1st Test against West Indies at Kotla, Delhi on Nov 6, 2011   - India won by 5 wickets -  not many would have imagined of the heights the Man of the match would accomplish !!  

In that test debutant Ravichandran Ashwin became only the third Indian  player (after Pravin Amre and RP Singh) to win the Man of the Match award on debut. (Before 1990, this award wasn't declared for all matches.)   Today at Rajkot, Ravichandran Ashwin climbed newer heights setting up   Zak Crawley registered himself into the record books, becoming his 500th victim.    

**  6 –9 -  3 – 1 – 1 – 2 *2* - 2 – 2**  decipher what ?????  

Cricinfo reports that - when asked what had not not changed, he said it was his "desire to excel".  All through his career, Ashwin's critics have tended to view his constant experimentation as a sign of overthinking the game, and he spoke of having had to fight that perception. "I'm really happy where I am in life. Forget it as just being in cricket. [I get told] that you 'intellectualise bowling', or whatever.   

In 147 years of Test cricket only eight bowlers had reached the 500-wicket landmark, but with R Ashwin there was a sense of inevitability that he would get there, long before he actually dismissed Zak Crawley for wicket number 500. The fact that he is the second-fastest to achieve the milestone - in terms of matches and deliveries - demonstrates just how successful a career he has had.  

Today at Rajkot Ravichandran Ashwin became the ninth man, the second Indian, to reach the landmark of 500 Test wickets. He is  the second-fastest bowler to achieve the feat, getting there in his 98th Test.  "I would like to dedicate this to my father, he's responsible for everything I've done in my life. He's lived it through, had heart attacks every time I've played. I think his health has gone for a toss because he's watched games of mine on TV and been a constant support for me," Ashwin said in an interview with the host broadcaster at the end of the day's play. "  

The aspect of Ashwin's career that stands out more than any other is obviously his record at home: 347 wickets in 58 Tests at an average of 21.22. Three more wickets will make him just the fifth bowler to take 350 home wickets, after Muttiah Muralidaran, James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Anil Kumble. In terms of averages too, he is bunched together with the very best.  There have been so many series-defining performances by Ashwin in his 12-year career that he has won a staggering 10 Man-of-the-Series awards; only Muralidaran, with 11, has done better.  

Ashwin has opened the bowling 50 times in Test cricket !! - 45 times in Asia, a couple of times each in England and Australia, and once in South Africa. In these 50 innings, he has taken 165 wickets at an average of 19.36, and a strike rate of 41 balls per wicket. The only other spinner with 100-plus wickets when opening the bowling in Test history is Sri Lanka's Rangana Herath.  Another statistics in another Cric web reveals -  25714 - balls taken by Ashwin to complete 500 wickets in Tests, making him the second-fastest to the mark after Glenn McGrath. The former Australia quick had got there of his 25528th ball in the format, dismissing Marcus Trescothick on an action-packed Day 1 of the Ashes 2005 opener at Lord's.  

"The desire to excel hasn't changed, wanting to keep on evolving as a cricketer, that's something that's been organic to me right from my club cricket days in Chennai,"  Ashwin  said. "  Ashwin  sadly who has not been the blue-eyed boy of many Captains and management, identified the period from 2018 to 2019, when he lost his place in the Indian team away from home, as the most challenging phase of his career, describing it as a "bottomless pit" before the Covid-19 pandemic gave him perspective.  

His Career statistics reveal :  6th fastest to 100 wickets; 9th fastest to 150;  3rd fastest to 200 wickets; 1 fastest to 300 wickets; 1st  fastest to 350 (combined);  2nd fastest to 400 ; 2nd fastest to 450 and 2nd fastest to 500   – 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 !  

To the Q that wavers in mind of fan that why Ashwin has often got a raw deal- there is Einstein’s famous words :  “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly.”  

Well done Ashwin … .. 600 is certainly within your reach !!  Nation is proud of YOU !!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
16th Feb 2024.


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