Ashwin, since his debut in 2011, took little time to reach the top echelons of Indian cricket. In only a couple of games, he became India’s frontline spinner in all three formats of the game. The Tamil Nadu spin wizard has 26 five-wicket hauls in 51 tests, a landmark he reached in the second Test against Sri Lanka in Colombo. The 286 wickets that the 30 year old has from 96 inning, justifies his towering presence in the team.
But when you categorize those attractive numbers under two subheadings– in the subcontinent and outside of it, you will see that most of Ashwin’s wickets have come on spin-friendly pitches. He has a modest record outside Asia, managing only 41 wickets at an average of 42.73. In contrast, his record in Indian subcontinent is amongst one of the best ever. Ashwin has an astonishing 286 wickets at an average of 25.47.
These numbers should technically leave skipper Virat Kohli in a conundrum, whether to play Ashwin on non-conducive spin tracks. India are slated to travel to South Africa at the end of the year, which will be followed by tours to England, Australia and New Zealand in 2018-19. The non spin-friendly wickets overseas might not assist the subcontinent specialist, but with the kind of responsibility he has shown with the bat, benching him will be a tough call for the Indian team management.
Until the start of the Border-Gavaskar series earlier this year, Karun Nair was constantly in the mix of things. But his dismal performances after a fine triple hundred, in tandem with the rise of Hardik Pandya, has left no place for the Karnataka batsman in the team. Post the exit of Nair, Ashwin has been coming ahead of Wriddhiman Saha and Pandya, and chipping in with some runs.
Of the 51 Tests that Ashwin has played in a career spanning across six years, he has scored 2004 runs at an average of 32.85, but in the last 10 games Ashwin has come in to bat at number 6 or above and he has showed prowess by accumulating 471 runs at an average of 42.81.
The manner in which the bowler is making his bat talk in the form of skill and temperament, he will in all likeliness remain Kohli’s go to man even outside Asia.