After starring against England, Ravichandran Ashwin has been named the ICC’s Men’s Player of the Month for February. We look back on a mammoth month from the spinner.
BY THE NUMBERS
24 wickets at 15.70. Two five-wicket hauls. Best figures of 6/61.
176 runs at 35.20. One century. High score of 106.
THE 400-WICKET CLUB
Ashwin became the 16th player to take 400 Test wickets in the third match against England.
The off-spinner pinned Jofra Archer in front of the stumps in England’s second innings to reach the landmark, and then took Jack Leach’s outside edge for good measure to finish February with 401 Test wickets to his name.
While 15 players had reached the 400-wicket mark before Ashwin, only one had managed to get there in fewer matches. The Indian joined the exclusive club in his 77th match. Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralitharan got there in 72. Given Muralitharan is Test cricket’s greatest ever wicket-taker, with exactly 800, Ashwin is in good stead.
Ashwin went on to take another eight wickets in the final Test against England, moving up to 15th on the all-time Test wicket-takers list with 409 at 24.69.
JOINING KAPIL DEV
It was a golden month for Ashwin but his best performance undoubtedly came in the second Test against England.
Playing at his home ground in Chennai, he took eight wickets for the Test and scored a century.
With India needing to win the Test to maintain their hopes of claiming the series and a spot in the ICC World Test Championship final, Ashwin took 5/43 to help bowl England out for 134 in their first innings.
But it was the century that really swung things India’s way. Ashwin came out to bat with India in trouble in their second innings. While the lead already sat at a healthy 301, India’s slide from 55/1 to 101/6 had given England hope.
Alongside captain Virat Kohli, Ashwin doused England’s ambitions. The pair put on an important 96 runs for India’s seventh wicket and Ashwin continued piling on the runs with the tail. He would eventually bring up his fifth Test century in the company of No.11 Mohammed Siraj.
He is now one of only two players to have both taken 400 Test wickets and scored five centuries. The other is his compatriot Kapil Dev, who scored eight centuries to go alongside his 434 Test wickets.
PLAYER OF THE SERIES AGAINST ENGLAND
Ashwin was named Player of the Series against England, following India's victory in the fourth and final Test in the first week of March.
His performance against England is worth taking a moment to appreciate. The 34-year-old was the top wicket-taker in the series with 32 at an average of 14.71, including three five-wicket hauls. Two of those five-fors came in February, in which he took 24 wickets at 15.70.
The next highest wicket-taker in the series was Axar Patel (27 at 10.59) and the next best effort in February was also Axar's, with 18 at 9.44.
Ashwin finished fifth among the run-scorers in the England series, with his 189 at 31.50 the third-most among Indians.
He was the eighth-best Test run-scorer globally in the month of February with 176 at an average of 35.20.
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