Few things excite Indian cricket fans more than Ravichandran Ashwin wickets, who has 697 international scalps, and 171 in the Indian Premier League.
India off-spinner Ashwin is regularly in the headlines no matter what, thanks to his deep knowledge of the laws of cricket. As a bowler, he is more often than not spot on and always tries to make adjustments to his bowling to cope with the team's requirements.
For example, when he was dropped from the ODI and T20I teams after the Champions Trophy in 2017, Ashwin took the challenge head-on and introduced new variations in his spin bowling. Since then, he has made comebacks in both formats of white-ball cricket and also played in the T20 World Cup in 2021 and 2022.
Such is the aura of Ashwin that whenever he takes the field nowadays, all the focus is on him for all his smarts on the field. When it comes to the number of wickets he has picked in his career, the man is a champion in Tests and has played his part in ODIs, T20Is and also in the IPL.
Unfortunately, in Tests, he is still considered a conditions bowler and for the same reason, he didn’t get a chance in the World Test Championship (WTC) final against Australia. Nevertheless, let us look at his already illustrious career and the number of wickets he has picked up so far.
Ravichandran Ashwin wickets: Career summary
The off-spinner from Chennai first played international cricket in 2010, making his debut in the ODI series against Sri Lanka. Since then, he has featured in a total of 270 international matches and has picked up 697 wickets.
Ashwin is a giant when it comes to Test cricket and has accounted for 474 wickets so far in 92 matches. The 36-year-old was once a top performer in the limited-overs format as well and featured in 113 ODI and 65 T20I matches, picking up 151 and 72 wickets, respectively.
In the IPL, the number of Ashwin wickets are 171 after playing 197 matches. He has played for Chennai Super Kings, Rising Pune Supergiant, Rajasthan Royals, Punjab Kings and Delhi Capitals. He also led Punjab Kings during his stint with the franchise.
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Now let’s shed some light on Ashwin’s career highlights:
Ashwin was born on September 17, 1986 in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. His name came up in the ranks through his performances in the IPL while playing for CSK under the leadership of MS Dhoni, who was also India’s captain then across all formats.
He won the Player of the Match award in his debut Test in 2011 against West Indies itself, where he picked nine wickets. He went on to account for nine five-fors in his first 16 Tests and is also the fastest to 300 wickets in Test cricket history. England and Australia are two of his favourite oppositions, picking up 88 and 114 wickets, respectively.
When it comes to Test cricket, Ashwin is one of the few players to score 1000 runs and complete 100 wickets in the format. He has also scored more than 250 runs and picked up more than 20 wickets in a single series. The off-spinner also has a hundred and five wickets in an innings in the longest format of the sport. He is also one of two Indians with 6,000 Test runs and more than 200 Test wickets, after Kapil Dev.
As far as milestones are concerned, Ashwin is the fastest to 250, 300 and 350 wickets and second fastest to 400 and 450 wickets in Test cricket. He is only behind Muttiah Muralitharan when it comes to winning Most Player of the Series awards in red-ball cricket, having won 10 times in only 37 series.
Ashwin was part of the 2011 World Cup-winning squad, where he didn’t get many opportunities but played the crucial quarter-final against Australia. He nipped out Shane Watson to draw first blood and overall picked up four wickets in two matches he played. In the 2015 World Cup, he was picked ahead of Harbhajan Singh, and the offie didn’t disappoint as the world witnessed 13 Ashwin wickets in eight matches in India’s run to the semi-final.
Ashwin’s top moment in white-ball cricket came in T20 World Cup 2014 when India made it to the final only to lose to Sri Lanka. He picked up a total of 11 wickets in the tournament, including a four-wicket haul (4/11) against Australia.
Ravichandran Ashwin best performances in Tests
Ashwin has picked up a massive 32 five-wicket hauls in the Test format and it goes without saying that there are a lot of brilliant performances that he has put on. Let us have a look at three of his best performances in the Test format.
Ashwin probably bowled his best in the Test match against Australia in Bangalore in 2017. It was the second Test of the series, with the visitors chasing only 188 runs in the fourth innings. But Ashwin had other ideas after nipped out David Warner first and then ran through the middle and lower-middle order of Australia, picking up the wickets of Peter Handscomb, Mitchell Marsh, Matthew Wade, Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon. He ended with figures of 6/41 and India won the Test match by 76 runs.
Ashwin was in the first year of his Test career when New Zealand toured India in 2012, and the first Test was played in Hyderabad. After India posted 438 on the board, Ashwin ripped through the visiting line-up picking, up a massive six-wicket haul and conceding just 31 runs. He accounted for the wickets of Martin Guptill, Ross Taylor, Daniel Flynn, Jeetan Patel, Trent Boult and Chris Martin as the Kiwis were shot out for 159, and eventually lost by an innings and 115 runs.
Ashwin is not a home track bully. Period. Yes, the off-spinner has been criticised a lot for picking up wickets only on rank turners at home. But in 2018, Ashwin announced himself yet again, this time away from home, at Edgbaston picking up four wickets on Day 1 of the Test match. He first bowled a peach to take down Alastair Cook and then picked up the wickets of Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Stuart Broad. Ashwin returned with figures of 4/62.
Ravichandran Ashwin best performances in ODIs
The Ashwin wickets tally in ODIs is not that impressive as he hasn’t recorded a single five-wicket haul and has only one four-wicket haul to his name. But that doesn’t mean he was not a match-winner in the format for India. Let us have a look at his three best spells in ODIs.
West Indies in white-ball cricket is always a dangerous side and in June 2017, the off-spinner delivered his best show with the ball. India were defending 252 runs and needed their bowlers to step up and Ashwin did just that. He ended with the figures of 3/28 in his 10 overs and also bowled a maiden. His wickets included Jason Holder, Miguel Cummins and Ashley Nurse as WI were skittled only for 158 runs.
The pitch at Wankhede Stadium is known to be a good one for batters but in October 2011, Ashwin made sure to keep England were kept quiet at the venue. Batting first, England were bundled out only for 220 runs thanks to Ashwin’s excellent show with the ball. He picked up the critical wickets of Cook, Kevin Pietersen and Samit Patel to finish with figures of 3/38 in his 10 overs.
Doing well overseas was always considered to be a bridge too far for Ashwin. But in 2014 in the Trent Bridge ODI against England, he bowled exceptionally well to keep the opposition at bay. Ashwin picked up wickets of middle-order trio Eoin Morgan, Jos Buttler and Stokes. He bowled superbly in the middle overs to return with 3/39 in 10 overs as India won the match easily.
Ravichandran Ashwin best performances in T20Is
Ashwin's showings in T20Is are again a matter of discussion but his economy of 6.9 in T20Is proves he is brilliant in the shortest format of the game. For the same reason, we look at some of his exceptional spells in the shortest format of the sport.
Ashwin delivered his best-ever spell in T20I cricket in February 2016 against Sri Lanka in Visakhapatnam. Bowling first, India skittled the opposition for just 82 runs with Ashwin picking up the top four wickets of Niroshan Dickwella, Tilakaratne Dilshan, Dinesh Chandimal and Asela Gunaratne. He ended with magical figures of 4/8 in his four overs.
Another Ashwin spell is remembered as a lot was at stake in the T20 World Cup 2014 game against Australia. After India posted 159 runs batting first, Ashwin ripped apart the Aussie batting in Dhaka. He picked up wickets of Aaron Finch, Warner, Glenn Maxwell, and James Muirhead ending with figures of 4/11. He put on an exhibition of some excellent spin bowling in the match.
In the same tournament, Ashwin displayed immense skill in the semi-final against South Africa. Ashwin bowled one of his finest spells ever in this game, bowling a magic delivery to castle Hashim Amla and also nipping out the likes of Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers at crucial junctures. South Africa scored 172 runs in 20 overs but Ashwin’s figures of 3/22 in four overs stood out.
Ravichandran Ashwin best performances in IPL
Ashwin wickets tally stands out in the IPL where he has played a massive 197 matches to pick up 171 wickets. His economy of 7.01 and an average of 28.67 is impressive given the way the game has changed immensely over the years.
In IPL 2010, when Ashwin was playing for CSK, he returned with the figures of 3/16 in four overs against KKR. This was a high-class bowling performance from him, given the fact that he dismissed Chris Gayle, Brendon McCullum and David Hussey in his spell.
CSK vs MI is considered as El Classico of the IPL and Ashwin brought his best performance in this game in IPL 2014. At the Wankhede Stadium, he picked up three wickets for just 30 runs nipping out players like Rohit Sharma, Lendl Simmons and Kieron Pollard.
Ashwin might have the best figures of 4/34 in his career, but his yet another three-wicket haul again against Mumbai Indians is considered one of his best spells. He dismissed Quinton de KockRohit Sharma and Kieron Pollard in IPL 2020 while playing for Delhi Capitals.