It is a daily routine for R Ashwin to get up in the morning, take 5 wickets if India are bowling or score a half-century if the team is batting. His all-round capabilities have not only helped India win many matches, but have also helped the team save crucial games. Owing to his exceptional performances in 2016, Ashwin has achieved another unique feat. The off-spinner from Tamil Nadu has now become the second Indian cricketer to take more than 50 wickets and score 500 plus runs in Tests in a calendar year.
Earlier, Kapil Dev was the only Indian to achieve this feat on two occasions – 1979 and 1983. Ashwin has played 10 matches so far in the year. With the bat, he has scored 545 runs in 12 innings at an average of 45.41. He has 3 half centuries and 2 centuries to his name with a highest score of 118 against the West Indies. With the ball, he has bowled 424.5 overs and taken 56 wickets in 18 innings. With an economy of 2.97, Ashwin has 6 five-wicket hauls and 2 ten-wicket hauls this year.
Kapil’s record in 1979
The Haryana Hurrican made his Test debut in 1978 and in the very next year, he went on to become the first Indian all-rounder to take 50+ wickets and score 500+ runs in a calendar year. In 1979, he played 17 matches and scored 619 runs in 23 innings at an average of 30.95. He scored 3 half-centuries and a century in the year with his highest being 126* against West Indies. With the ball, he bowled 592.1 overs in 29 innings and picked up 74 wickets. At an average of 22.95, Kapil had 5 five-wicket hauls to his name that year with an economy of 2.86.
Kapil does it again in 1983
In his 18 matches in 1983, he picked up 75 wickets in 25 innings. Kapil bowled 578.1 overs and gave away 1739 runs at an economy of 3. With an average of 23.18, he had 5 five-wicket hauls and 1 ten-wicket haul to his credit. With the bat, Kapil scored 579 runs in 28 innings at an average of 22.26. With two half-centuries and a century, Kapil’s highest score in the year was 100* against West Indies.
A fast bowling or a spin bowling all-rounder?
While India is still looking for an all-rounder like Kapil Dev who can bowl fast and contribute in the lower-order, Ashwin has ticked the box for India’s long search for an all-rounder. He may not be fast like Kapil, his spin is good enough for India to win. Ashwin became the second fastest in the world to pick up 200 wickets this year, given how Ashwin has been performing, he might as well become India’s leading wicket taker by the time he retires.
Kapil vs Ashwin
While there is a long way to go for Ashwin to achieve what Kapil Dev has done for India, Ashwin is surely on the right track and may even surpass him in the future. Kapil represented India in 131 Test matches. He made 5248 runs in his career with a highest score of 163 runs against Sri Lanka. With a decent average of 31.05, Kapil has 27 half centuries and 8 centuries to his name. With the ball, he has 434 wickets with 23 five-wicket hauls and 2 ten-wicket hauls and an economy of 2.78.
Ashwin, on the other hand, has played 42 matches so far and has scored 1749 runs at an average of 34.98. He has 9 half centuries and 4 centuries to his credit with a highest score of 124 against the West Indies. In the bowling department, he has picked 232 wickets at an average of 24.72. Going at an economy of 2.92, he has picked 22 five-wicket hauls and 6 10-wickets hauls. Can Ashwin become India’s best all-rounder?