The true pedigree of a bowler lies beyond the dustbowl of stats and figures. Since time immemorial, people have associated the actual calibre of a bowler with his ability to tantalise the best batsmen in business. The likes of James Anderson and Brett Lee dismissed Tendulkar the most number of times in Tests and ODIs respectively, but according to Sachin himself, it was Hansie Cronje who troubled him the most in his career with his dibbly-dobbly medium pace.
The same criterion is applicable in Ashwin’s case as well. There are no two ways about the fact that post Tendulkar’s retirement, Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara and South Africa’s AB de Villiers have stood head and shoulders above the rest. And interestingly, Ashwin has tormented both these batsmen in recent times and that too in the space of just 2 months. While he outfoxed Sangakkara in his farewell series only a month ago, he emulated a similar sort of performance against de Villiers in the recently finished Paytm T20I Series. A quick look at Ashwin’s record against these 2 stalwarts will reveal a more concrete image of the situation.
|Record against Sangakkara (in Tests)||Record against de Villiers (in T20Is)|
|Dismissals- 3 times
Sangakkara’s average against Ashwin- 6.66 (worst against any Indian bowler; minimum of 3 dismissals).
Sangakkara also fell prey to Ashwin in 3 innings in a row in the same series.
|Dismissals- 5 times
de Villers’ average against Ashwin- 12.40
de Villiers’ S/R against Ashwin- 105.80
These are no ordinary figures. Any bowler boasting of such stats should hold himself in immense regard. Ashwin’s menace has gradually started creeping into the minds of rival batsmen, regardless of opposition coaches’ denial of any such issue. Although South Africa’s coach Russell Domingo feels that Ashwin’s exploits will fade away as the series progresses, the stats depict a different picture.
For Ashwin, cricket is not a mere source of earning living unlike some of his compatriots. It’s his life. He plays the game in the right spirit; in which the gentlemen’s game is meant to be played. While many are projecting him as a possible candidate for India’s captaincy in the future, this gentleman pays little or no heed to such future oriented estimations. ‘’Ten years down the line, I want to be remembered as the player who devoted his cent per-cent effort to his beloved game’’, says Ashwin, who is spinning his way to glory with each passing game..