As the lush green outfield of Dharamsala braces for the impending Test match between India and England, a significant personal milestone is on the horizon for one of cricket’s most exceptional spinners. Ravichandran Ashwin is poised to celebrate his 100th Test cap, marking a memorable entry into the elite group of players who have donned the Indian Test jersey a century of times since India’s Test debut in 1932.

Ashwin’s contribution to Indian cricket has been monumental. Lauded as one of the sport’s all-time greatest spinners, his achievements offer a compelling testament to this claim. At 37 years old, Ashwin stands as the second Indian ever to claim over 500 Test wickets. His impressive arsenal includes a record-breaking number of Player of the Series awards for India—10 to be exact. Moreover, Ashwin has taken 35 Test fifers, an achievement he shares as the most by an Indian bowler.

However, as he prepares to step onto the field for this landmark game, Ashwin has taken a moment to reflect on his career’s best spells — intriguingly, they don’t include any of his 35 five-wicket hauls.

Delving into his personal recollections, Ashwin’s first spell of choice dates back to 2017 during a high-stakes Test in Bengaluru against Australia. Despite a disappointing first innings where India had been bowled out for 189, and having taken six wickets in the second innings, Ashwin singles out his initial efforts of 49-13-84-2 as one of the finest despite it not resulting in a fifer.

The year 2018 holds the rest of Ashwin’s selected top performances: one at Centurion and another at Edgbaston. In the latter, Ashwin’s 3 for 59 was pivotal. He reflects, “When you finish, it is Test wins that stand really tall. But having given it a lot of thought, one of the finest spells I have bowled has to be the one in Birmingham in 2018. I got Cook, Root, and Jennings. I got seven wickets in the game. I felt like I had almost bowled India to victory in the game, but it didn’t happen. That has to be one of the finest spells I have bowled.” His passion and regret are palpable, underscoring the importance of these moments in his storied career.

Ashwin refers to another performance that remains prominent in his memory—a four-wicket haul against South Africa at Centurion, which could have been even more bountiful. He recalls, “I got a four-for. It could have been six or seven but it didn’t happen. That was a good spell. Those are three spells that will stand out. There are several five-fors and wins that have happened over the years, but these are the spells I will remember for how [the ball] came out of the hand, what it meant personally.”

As Ashwin gears up for the 5th Test, the team enters the contest with an unassailable lead of 3-1. A decisive victory to move it to 4-1 would be the crowning achievement for Ashwin and Team India. The stage is set, and all eyes will be on the spin wizard as he weaves his magic, potentially propelling India to another memorable Test series win and etching his name even deeper into the annals of Indian cricket history. His performances have already etched him into the hearts of cricket aficionados, and this 100th Test is not just another game—it’s a testament to the dedication, skill, and artistry of R. Ashwin, a true maestro of the craft.

By IPL Agent

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