Ravichandran Ashwin becomes the highest wicket-taker of the year 2023 so far


New Delhi: Ravichandran Ashwin, India’s premier offspinner, has achieved a remarkable feat by becoming the leading wicket-taker in Test cricket in the year 2023 so far. Ashwin has taken 54 wickets in 10 Tests at an average of 20.55 and a strike rate of 46.5, surpassing his fellow spinner Nathan Lyon of Australia, who has 51 wickets in 11 Tests.

Ashwin’s stellar performance has been instrumental in India’s success in the longest format of the game this year. He was the Man of the Series in the two-match series against West Indies, where he took 16 wickets at an average of 12.50 and a strike rate of 28.6. He also scored a century in the first Test at Kingston, becoming only the third Indian after Vinoo Mankad and Kapil Dev to score a hundred and take a five-for in the same Test.

Ashwin also played a key role in India’s historic win over Australia in the World Test Championship (WTC) final at The Oval in June. He took seven wickets in the match, including four in the second innings, as India chased down 365 runs on the final day to lift the trophy for the first time. Ashwin was also the highest wicket-taker for India in the four-match series against England earlier this year, where he took 28 wickets at an average of 25.82 and a strike rate of 53.9.

Ashwin’s bowling partner Mohammed Siraj, who also had a memorable year with 36 wickets in nine Tests, praised Ashwin’s skills and experience. “The way the wicket is behaving, Ashwin, I feel, will run through any batting line-up…the ball is turning,” Siraj said after the second Test against West Indies. “He is a very smart bowler. He knows how to use his variations and he reads the batsmen very well.”

Ashwin, who made his Test debut in 2011, has now taken 440 wickets in 84 Tests at an average of 24.68 and a strike rate of 50.9. He is the fourth-highest wicket-taker among active players, behind James Anderson (635), Stuart Broad (529), and Nathan Lyon (444). He is also the third-highest wicket-taker for India in Tests, behind Anil Kumble (619) and Kapil Dev (434).

Ashwin is not only a prolific bowler but also a handy batsman, with five Test centuries and 12 fifties to his name. He has scored 2750 runs in Tests at an average of 27.77 and a strike rate of 54.8. He is one of only three players, along with Ian Botham and Shakib Al Hasan, to have scored over 2000 runs and taken over 400 wickets in Tests.

Ashwin will have a chance to add more wickets to his tally when India takes on South Africa in a three-match Test series at home in October-November this year. He will also be looking forward to playing in the IPL for Delhi Capitals, where he was traded from Kings XI Punjab last year.

Ashwin has been one of the most consistent and versatile spinners in world cricket for over a decade now. He has adapted his game to different conditions and formats and has always been eager to learn new skills and tricks. He is undoubtedly one of the greatest spinners of all time and a legend of Indian cricket.