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R Ashwin – One of the All-Time Greats

R Ashwin has had quite an intriguing career path. He first came into the limelight as a T20 bowler who could bowl the carrom ball with impressive control. That skill and a sound temperament allowed him to establish himself quickly in a champion Chennai team that won the Indian T20 League two years in succession. Those displays caught the eye of the national selectors and it wasn’t long before he was a regular in every format, hastening the end of Harbhajan Singh’s time as India’s top off-spinner.

But as Ashwin took the world of Test cricket by storm, taking 5-wicket hauls and scoring hundreds, his T20 performances started to dip. In Tests, he invariably attacked the batters and tried to outsmart them. Back in the biff-bang T20 world, where the emphasis was on containment, he was no longer as effective as he had been in those two title-winning seasons with Chennai.

Ashwin the international bowler had to endure a few blips, especially in overseas Tests, but the rewards kept coming. A Champions Trophy win in 2013 was followed by individual honors in 2016, when his 72 wickets for the year won him both ICC Test Cricketer of the Year and Cricketer of the Year honors.

It was ironic then that so soon after that high, the pause button was pressed on his limited-overs career. Pakistan’s upset victory over India in the Champions Trophy final of 2017 not only brought about a change of coach but also a change in the spin personnel for limited-overs matches. Ashwin was called up for India’s T20 World Cup squad in 2021, but prior to that, his last game in India’s blue kits had come back in July 2017.

In the Indian T20 League, he has never managed to scale the heights he did with Chennai before he became a star for India. Even before a two-year ban on the Chennai franchise forced a move to Pune in 2016, Ashwin’s performances had dipped. And through two seasons in Punjab and two more in the Delhi’s jersey, there have only been fleeting glimpses of the carrom-ball destroyer of old.

His variations and tricks got him noticed. But once he established himself as a Test bowler almost without peer, it became increasingly difficult for him to go back to those old ways. The mystery spinner became a legend. But in T20s at least, the mystery has gone. What he can look forward to, though, is the possibility of a third Indian T20 League winner’s medal with his new side Rajasthan, who bought him for ₹5 crores at the auction.

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R Ashwin’s Personal Details

    • Name
    • :
    • Ravichandran Ashwin
    • Date of Birth
    • :
    • 17th September 1986
    • Birthplace
    • :
    • Chennai
    • Height
    • :
    • 6′2″
    • Bowling Style
    • :
    • Right-arm off-break
    • Playing Role
    • :
    • Bowler
    • Major Teams Played For
    • :
    • India, Chennai team, Pune team, Punjab team, Delhi team, Rajasthan team

R Ashwin’s Current Rankings

R Ashwin Career Summary

    • Format
    • M
    • Inn
    • Wickets
    • Best Bowling
    • Avg
    • SR
    • ER
    • 4W
    • 5W
    • CT
    • Test
    • 85
    • 160
    • 436
    • 7/59 vs NZ
    • 24.26
    • 52.50
    • 2.77
    • 22
    • 30
    • 30
    • ODI
    • 113
    • 111
    • 151
    • 4/25 vs UAE
    • 33.49
    • 40.60
    • 4.94
    • 1
    • 0
    • 30
    • T20I
    • 51
    • 51
    • 61
    • 4/8 vs SL
    • 21.27
    • 18.70
    • 6.79
    • 2
    • 0
    • 9

R Ashwin - Key Skills and Strengths

Ashwin’s biggest asset has always been his temperament. Maybe his initial days of trying to be a fast bowler helped create an aggressive mindset, and Ashwin has never shied away from taking on batters. You sense that what he enjoys most is the battle of wills and wits. Test cricket, with its 5-day canvas, gives him the time to plan and execute dismissals, subtly luring batters into his traps. After his early successes with the flicked carrom ball, Ashwin has flourished by going back to off-spin basics. It’s his ability to drift the ball in that makes him so hard to read at times. He’s also a technically correct and accomplished batter, as his tally of 5 Test centuries shows.

R Ashwin Captaincy Record

    • Format
    • Matches
    • Won
    • Lost
    • Tie
    • NR
    • I T20 League
    • 28
    • 12
    • 16
    • 0
    • 0

R Ashwin Awards and Achievements

Though there have been speed bumps on the way since his debut for the Indian cricket team in June 2010, Ashwin has gone on to establish himself as one of India’s greatest-ever bowlers. Though Anil Kumble’s record for most Test wickets by an Indian may remain out of reach for him, quite a few more records will undoubtedly tumble before Ashwin hangs up his boots.

Here are some of Ashwin’s biggest records and achievements in international cricket:

  • Ashwin was the ICC Cricketer of the Year in 2016, only the third Indian to win the award after Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar.

  • He was named in the ICC Test Team of the Decade in December 2020.

  • Of the 4 Indians with more than 400 Test wickets, Ashwin has by far the best average and strike rate.

  • He was the fastest to 300 Test wickets, taking just 54 matches. Australia’s Dennis Lillee previously held the record, having got there in 56 games.

  • Only Muttiah Muralitharan and Jacques Kallis have won more Player of the Series awards than Ashwin (8).

R Ashwin’s Indian T20 League Journey

Though one spell of 2 for 13 hinted at his potential when the league was played in South Africa in 2009, it was only the following year that Ashwin became a regular in the Chennai XI. He finished with 13 wickets and a miserly economy rate of 6.10 as the franchise won its first title. Next season, he did even better, scalping 20 wickets as they retained their crown. Over the next 4 seasons, as he established himself as India’s frontline spinner, Ashwin continued to be economical in the Indian T20 League, but took less than a wicket a game. With Chennai then banned from the league, he moved to Pune and had a moderately good season. After missing 2017 due to injury, he went to captain Punjab in 2018. His performances over 2 seasons there were average, and he was traded to Delhi before the 2020 campaign. There too his performances have been adequate, but a world away from the exciting, carrom-ball bowler so integral to Chennai’s early successes. Ashwin will hope to rediscover his form wearing the Rajasthan jersey this season.

Here are some of Ashwin’s biggest achievements in the Indian T20 League:

  • With 142 wickets, Ashwin is 6th on the all-time highest wicket takers’ list.

  • Of those who have played more than 50 games, only Rashid Khan, Muttiah Muralitharan and Sunil Narine have a better economy rate than Ashwin’s 6.91.

  • Only Harbhajan Singh (1,268), who he replaced on the Indian team, has bowled more dot balls than Ashwin (1,249).

  • Ashwin opened the bowling for Chennai in both the 2010 and 2011 finals. In the second game, his 3 for 16 included the wicket of Chris Gayle for 0.

    • Format
    • M
    • Wickets
    • Best Bowling
    • Avg
    • SR
    • ER
    • 4W
    • 5W
    • CT
    • Indian T20 League
    • 167
    • 145
    • 4/34 vs Punjab
    • 27.85
    • 24.12
    • 6.91
    • 1
    • 0
    • 34

R Ashwin: FAQs

Who was Ashwin’s favorite bowler while he was growing up?

Shane Warne, the legendary Australian leg-spinner.

Which superhero does Ashwin identify with the most?

Batman, the dark knight.

Though he has played under both MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli, who is Ashwin’s all-time-favorite captain?

Ashwin says his favorite captain is Sourav Ganguly, who led India to several landmark victories when Ashwin was a teenager making his way in the game.

What was Ashwin’s least favorite subject in school?

Mathematics, though he has a degree in engineering.

Which of Ashwin’s sporting idols died recently?

Diego Maradona, who led Argentina to World Cup glory a couple of months before Ashwin was born in 1986.

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