Offensive R. Ashwin is likely to finish as the best wicket player in the World Test Championship (WTC) cycle after India’s final against New Zealand next month, as he needs only four more wickets to surpass Australian speed Pat Cummins which leads to a score of 70.
The Australian Rhythm Bowling has chosen its wickets in 14 test matches, while the cunning Indian spinner has 67 scalps in 13 matches. So when the WTC final begins, all eyes will be on it, provided it is selected in XI, taking into account the rotation options available to India.
The closest to him is a New Zealander Tim Southywho has 51 tickets in 10 games and unless he takes 20 tickets in the final, which is highly unlikely and Ashwin took less than four, he will be left behind by the Indian.
So far, Ashwin has four four-door draws in the WTC, the same as the Australian spinners. Nathan Lyon which has 56 scalps.
Ashwin has played his WTC matches in India (9 tests), Australia (3) and New Zealand (1). It is therefore not surprising that he took most of his kayaks in India. He has chosen 52 wickets at home and 15 abroad – 12 in Australia and three in New Zealand.
32 of his 52 WTC weekends have come in a series of four tests this year. That, along with 181 runs in four assists, won him the Man-of-the-Series award against England.
However, bowling in England will be very different from that in India. As India will play in the WTC final next month, in the early summer of England and with rain around, conditions are likely to support seamstresses.
Cummins said Wednesday that conditions in England would be more favorable for New Zealand than for India.
Ashwin’s average in the singles test he played in New Zealand as part of the WTC cycle was an impressive 33.
However, the Indians can draw some inspiration from the fact that they played in Southampton, the place of the WTC final, only three years ago during the test series against England, and pushed the hosts close before succumbing to the 60th loss in the fourth Test of the series.
Ashwin, who was part of this test and scored 51.4 overs in just three wickets, was completely overshadowed by Mouen Ali who took nine wickets to write a victory in England.
However, Moeen’s success came at the end of the English summer in August-September, when the wickets became less gentle.
Ashwin has played only six test matches in England and has selected 14 wickets at an average of 32.92, which is a shade better than the New Zealand average (33) and far better than Australia (42.15) and South Africa. (46.14).