In the last couple of years, Ravichandran Ashwin has emerged India’s frontline spinner. The offie, who has had a phenomenal run across all formats, conjured another milestone on Sunday when he became the second fastest bowler to pick 200 Test wickets.
Ashwin reached the milestone in 37 matches beating Dennis Lillee (38), Waqar Younis (38) and Dale Steyn (39), and only one match behind Australia's Clarrie Grimmett (36). The lanky Tamil Nadu off-spinner snared New Zealand captain Kane Williamson as his 200th victim.
The 30-year-old hoped to add many more such memories in his career. “Definitely the 200th has to be the special one so far. Kane Williamson is not a bad 200th scalp! There are quite a few good wickets that I’ve had over a period of time. AB de Villiers in Nagpur was very well set up,” Ashwin said on Sunday.
“Williamson in the first innings, I thought, was a very, very good ball. (Kumar) Sangakkara in Sri Lanka… these are some special memories that I’ll always cherish in my cricketing career."
There was a phase in 2014 when Ashwin had struggled to find a regular place in the team. The spinner acknowledged the period forced him to work on his skills. “That phase taught me a lot and more so it emphasised that I should be working on my skill. And my skill has definitely been talked of ever since. This game especially, I have a corn on my finger and I haven't bowled a lot in the last 25 days. I'm not very happy with the way it has come out so far. I just hope that I can do better in the series,” said Ashwin. Out of his 200 wickets, 133 have come at home.
Ashwin stressed on the need to compete with oneself. “I constantly compete with myself. You go out and try and beat records, or try to catch up with records, it’s always going to teach you a lesson. That’s something that Test cricket taught me pretty early in my career – that how quickly it can set you back a couple of years. I lost a good 12 to 18 months of Test cricket, and that’s good enough to teach me all the lessons. It’s important to try and compete with myself and try and get better every day.”
India have inched closer to victory by reducing New Zealand to 93/4 but Ashwin felt they should have done better. “The game is not over yet. There are still six more wickets to go and we'll have to take them one at a time. We must have got them five or six down today itself. I'm pretty disappointed with that.”