Former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly has backed Ravichandran Ashwin to take 500-600 test wickets in 100 test matches. Ashwin has been often looked upon to overtake Anil Kumble and become leading wicket-taker in the history of Indian Cricket. Ashwin became fastest to pick 300 test wickets in just 54 tests against Sri Lanka in Nagpur.
Talking to India today, Sourav Ganguly said, “Hopefully Ashwin will finish with 500-600 test wickets.” Coincidentally, Ashwin broke Dennis Lillee’s record of fastest to 300 test wickets exact 36 years after Lillee set it on November 27, 1981. Ashwin had also broken Lillee’s record of fastest to 250 earlier this year against Bangladesh.
2015 has seen Ashwin growth as a bowler. He picked up 62 wickets in 9 tests in 2015 and hasn’t looked back since then. In a grand home season of 2016-17, Ashwin emerged as leading wicket-taker picking 82 wickets from 13 tests thereby picking most wickets by any bowler in a season.
He is almost a pure middle order batsman as well. His status as an all-rounder is very close to English legend Sir Ian Botham’s stats at the same point in time in his career. Ashwin has sterner tests ahead in next one year when India tour overseas and play on pitches that are not conducive to spinners.
Very often critics say Ashwin has been picking wickets only in the subcontinent and hence it is not appropriate to get awestruck looking at his stats. However, even the great Muttiah Muralitharan has 669 out of his 800 wickets in Asia and still regarded as greatest spinner ever. If Murali is, then why can’t be Ashwin?