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In a recent interview, India’s premier off-spinner R Ashwin claimed that it would be a matter of great honour if he managed to get anywhere close to Anil Kumble’s record of 619 wickets.
Stating, in an interview to Deccan Chronicle, that he started playing Tests matches a bit late in his career Ashwin said, “I don’t think I would want to extend one wicket more than what Anil Kumble achieved. If I did it would be a matter of great honour.”
When asked what would it mean to him if he could surpass Mutthiah Muralitharan’s tally of 800 wickets, Ashwin said, “It’s a massive achievement to go anywhere near Murali’s tally of 800 wickets. If I get there, it would be like surpassing my human limit.”
Ashwin, who has managed to bag 254 wickets in just 45 matches, said that for the upcoming Test series against Australia he is going to look at the series as a 20-day programme.
“I will try to get through the 20 days. My injury concerns have been a bit of an issue. It was on the back of my mind in the last two series. Against New Zealand and England I could perform only 60-70 per cent of my potential. I’m trying to get better and put more strength on my body. Sports Hernia is something that can’t be managed easily. It’s been a big challenge for me. It takes a lot of time to warm up these days. For me, trying to phase out the 20 days is very important. I will get there in the most effective manner.” he said.
Responding to Australian opener David Warner statement of having a game plan against him, Ashwin said, “Honestly, I don’t have any plans for him. Aussies are all fine players. Test cricket is not like T20 or one-day where you come up with a single plan and succeed in executing it. You have to try and restore balance and intensity over a five-day period.
“Warner is a massive player and he can change games around in a session. But, he can’t come and play on the fourth day like he does on the first. I think we have got enough resolve to stop him,” he said.
Speaking about his improved skills with the bat Ashwin said,” The fact that I was a batsman in my junior days has been a major help. I understand the batsmen’s psyche. I love the game so much, I watch it all the time and even coach some boys at my academy. I go to games that make no sense and I still watch them. All these give me different perspectives on the game.”
However, he added that he is still going up and down the order. “I would like to have an assured spot.”, he said.
Meanwhile, talking about his bowling spells where he is seen taking some time before he takes his first wicket Ashwin pointed out, ” It has something to do with the spell you are going through. Sometimes, I find myself coming a little late in the spell when the batsmen are already set. It takes time to break them down. I don’t get to bowl those 10 to 12-over spells anymore. I’m bowling shorter spells because we play five bowlers. Virat also likes to use me that way. It can also be said that I’m taking a bit of time to get into a rhythm.”
“There have been spells where I bowled well without success. But I try and turn things around”, he said.
When Ashwin took his 24th five-wicket haul, he went past Kapil Dev in the all-time list of most five-wicket hauls by an Indian bowler in Tests. While Kapil Dev took 131 Tests to take 23 five-wicket hauls, Ashwin got it in only 43 Tests. Only Harbhajan Singh and Anil Kumble are ahead of the Chennai off-spinner.
If one looks at 10-wicket hauls, then he is only one behind Kumble’s mark of eight. Ashwin has a chance to eclipse Kumble’s record in the upcoming Test series against Australia.