Ravichandran Ashwin found himself on the cusp of a historic achievement, standing just four wickets away from the milestone of 500 Test scalps as India faced England in Visakhapatnam. However, despite a valiant effort, Ashwin remained stranded at 499 wickets as India secured a 106-run victory to level the series at 1-1.
The veteran off-spinner experienced a wicketless first innings, conceding 61 runs in 12 overs. While he did manage to claim three crucial wickets in England’s second innings, the monumental milestone eluded him, and he must now wait for another opportunity.
During the game, Ashwin dismissed prominent England batsmen Ben Duckett, Joe Root, and Ollie Pope, contributing significantly to India’s dominant position. However, former cricketer Kevin Pietersen expressed his belief that Ashwin’s pursuit of an individual milestone may have affected his performance.
Kevin Pietersen shared his thoughts, stating, “Ashwin was just chasing a milestone. That’s why he didn’t bowl as well as he could have bowled. He did get it right on occasion. I thought he was way more threatening bowling wider outside off-stump around the wicket. He can change bowling over, bowling around, bowling over more.”
The ex-England captain emphasized that Ashwin might exhibit a more relaxed and improved performance once he achieves the next wicket to complete 500 Test wickets.
“I’m certainly never going to say that he hasn’t got it or the England bowlers have found him out. He is a tremendous bowler and he’s got some big breakthroughs. It is about the team; it’s not about the individual. He will want one more wicket and when he gets that maybe you’ll see him a lot more relaxed, the shoulder drops and I can just now get on with the game,” Kevin Pietersen remarked.
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While Ashwin has a remarkable record at home with 346 wickets in 57 Tests, featuring 26 five-wicket hauls, his current series performance has seen him claim 9 wickets in 2 games with an average of 36.33. The quest for the elusive 500th wicket continues for the 36-year-old spinner.