Ravichandran Ashwin has an amazing test-cricket career. He crossed the mark of 300 wickets in 54 matches. This is the fastest achievement in the history of cricket. He took 311 wickets in 57 games. The question is will Ashwin stands among the all-time great spinners around the globe, like Anil Kumble, Shane Warne, Muttiah Muralidharan and the likes.
To understand the stature of Ashwin, we have to compare his achievements with his contemporary players. Let us have a glance at three players who can equal the prolific style of him.
- Nathan Lyon
This Australian spinner is 7 wickets away from 300-wickets mark. He picked 293 wickets off 75 test matches. He has some flaws when compared to Rangana Herath and Ravichandran Ashwin but he made his mark on bouncy pitches of Australia. He is one of the greatest finger spinners like Erapalli Prasanna and Lance Gibbs. Even the modern legends like Mutthaiah Muralidharan and Harbhajan Singh could not do well in the Australian conditions.
Surviving as an off-spinner for such a long time is not an easy thing. His average is 31.78. Herath and Ashwin have better figures in Australia. Herath has an average of 33.91 and strike rate of 67.3 and Ashwin has a strike rate of 54.71 and 97 respectively. Lyon did well in the Asian grounds as well. Lyon has to share wickets with pace bowlers of the team and coming to Asia, the spinners are the main weapons. He is expected to surpass Ashwin if he shows some improvement apart from numbers.
- Rangana Herath
This Sri Lankan spinner played 32 matches more than Ashwin and picked 104 wickets more than him. Firstly he was a co-spinner of Muralitharan and became the main spinner of the team in course of time, roughly from 2011. He played 57 test matches and picked 305 wickets. Herath’s average and strike rate are 25.74 and 55.3 respectively, similar to that of Ashwin, 25.56 and 53.1. He did well in the foreign tours as well. He is the main weapon for the team in the tour to Australia. He may not be accepted as the better bowler than Ashwin but no less than him. He made a match-winning performance in the Durban test in 2011 against South Africa and picked 9 wickets.
- Yasir Shah
This Pakistani off-spinner is capable of breaking the records of Ashwin, Herath, and Lyon. He took 165 wickets in just 28 test matches. He is expected to surpass the benchmark of 200 wickets in 36 test-matches, achieved by Clarrie Grimmett. This is the fastest 200-wicket chase. Experts feel that he is destined to beat the fastest 300-wicket record by Ashwin. He has a little higher average of 29.44 when compared to his Asian competitors and his strike rate 56.2 is closer to Ashwin’s strike rate. Though he did not do well in Australia, he made two match-winning performances against England. He can be named as the strongest opponent to Ravichandran Ashwin.