Ashwin on Cusp of Concluding WTC as Highest Wicket-Taker 

The crafty off-spinner needs just four more wickets to surpass Pat Cummins, who leads the chart with a tally of 70.

2 min read
Ravichandran Ashwin picked his 400th Test wicket when he trapped Jofra Archer lbw on Day 2 of the 3rd Test vs England.

India’s premier off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin is likely to finish as the top wicket-taker in the World Test Championship cycle after India's final against New Zealand next month as he needs just four more wickets to surpass Australian pace spearhead Pat Cummins, who leads the chart with a tally of 70.

Cummins has picked his wickets in 14 Test matches whereas Ashwin has 67 scalps in 13 matches. The third best is New Zealander Tim Southee, who has 51 wickets in 10 matches and since the gulf is so vast it is almost next to impossible for the Kiwi to overtake Ashwin.

Ashwin has four four-wicket hauls in WTC so far, the same as Australian counterpart Nathan Lyon who has 56 scalps. Ashwin has played his WTC matches in India (9 Tests), Australia (3) and New Zealand (1). It is, therefore, no surprise that he has pocketed a huge chunk of his wickets in India. He has snapped up 52 wickets at home and 15 overseas -- 12 in Australia and three in New Zealand.

A lion’s share worth 32 of his 52 wickets in WTC have come in the four-Test series this year. Besides the sensational feat, he also scored 181 runs - including a ton - in four innings to be adjudged the Man-of-the-Series against England.

Bowling in England will, however, be a different kettle of fish. Since India will be playing the WTC final next month, the overcast conditions and sporadic showers will support the seam bowlers. On Wednesday, Cummins opined conditions in England would be more favourable to New Zealand than India.

However, Indians can draw some inspiration from the fact that they played in Southampton, the venue of the WTC final, only three years ago during the Test series against England, and ran the home side close before succumbing to a 60-run loss in the fourth Test of the series.

Ashwin, who was part of that Test and bowled 51.4 overs for just three wickets, was completely overshadowed by Moeen Ali who took nine wickets to script an England triumph. Moeen's success, though, came towards the fag end of English summer in August-September when the wickets had become less seam-friendly.

Ashwin has played just six Test matches in England and picked 14 wickets at an average of 32.92 which is a shade better than his average in New Zealand (33) and far better than Australia (42.15) and South Africa (46.14).

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