Ashwin fastest Indian to take 200 Test wickets, surpasses legends like Dennis Lillee and Waqar Younis


Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin on Sunday became the fastest Indian and second overall to take 200 wickets, reaching the milestone in his 37th Test.

Ashwin trapped New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson in front to get to the 200-mark on day four of the first Test at the Green Park.

The spinner had also got the better of Williamson in the first innings, when he went through the defence of the visiting captain with a vicious off-spinner.

With this feat, Ashwin left behind the likes of Dennis Lillee and Waqar Younis, who took 38 Tests to get to 200 wickets. South African pacer Dale Steyn took 39 Tests to reach the landmark.

Only leg-spinner Clarrie Grimmett got to the double century of wickets faster than Ashwin as the Australian reached there in 36 Tests.

Ashwin, who has so far taken seven wickets in the Kanpur Test, said he enjoyed his last 100 wickets.

“Ever since coming back from Australia (in 2014-15), I have been enjoying my last 100 wickets. I was planning my wickets better,” said Ashwin after stumps on day four.

“The challenge from the opposition is always good. For example, Williamson was playing really well. Taylor was playing back. It’s a combination of playing good batsmen, conditions and match situations that makes this satisfying.

“I think its too early to talk about my achievements I have a long way to go. (12 more Tests to go in the season) Very important to take one day at a time, Test cricket can set you back if you take it for granted. Be greedy in terms of what you want to achieve, but preparing for a Test, you have to take it one day at a time,” he added.

He became the second-fastest cricketer in the world to reach 200 Test wickets but Indian off-spinner R Ashwin says the thought of creating records never crossed his mind since he is “happy competing with himself”.

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson was his 200th victim in his 37th Test match, as he overtook compatriot Harbhajan Singh (46), but remained behind Australian Clarrie Grimmett (36).

In the process he also surpassed a few legends of the game such as Dennis Lillee (38), Waqar Younis (38) and Dale Steyn (39).

“I am happy trying to compete with myself. When I say that, I might sound cliched but I always say I constantly compete with myself. You go out and try and beat records.

Trying to catch up with records, always teach you lessons.

That is something Test cricket taught me pretty early in my career. I lost a good 12 to 18 months and that’s good enough to teach me all the lessons,” Ashwin said at a press conference.

Talking about his five-year journey so far, since making his debut in 2011 against the West Indies, the wily off-spinner said he has created many cherishable memories for himself.

“Definitely the 200th one is very special so far. Kane Williamson is not a bad scalp. There have been quite a few good wickets I had over a period of time. Kane Williamson getting out in this Test match in first innings was a very good ball. Sangakkara in Sri Lanka, these are some special memories I cherish in my career. I hope I create more and more in the future,” he said.

Asked if he feels that he could have done it more quickly as he has missed a good amount of cricket in the past.

“It had to be that way. There are a lot of good memories I have created in the last 5-6 years in my career. To look back and feel sorry about a few things, is not the right way to go about my career. I am very happy,” he said.

Ashwin refused to predict his future as far as cricketing achievements were concerned.

“The next target is that we have to win this Test match.

Everybody talks about 13 matches in the season. For me, it’s one match at a time. Try take a 1-0 lead and take it forward.”

Ashiwn said it will not be prudent to say at this moment that only two Indian spinners proved enough for the Kiwis.

“The game is not finished as yet. We are not jumping to any conclusions. The fact is we have to take six more wickets.

It’s too early to call anything. We should have got them five or six down today, I am a bit disappointed with that,” he said.