Veteran India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin is on the verge of achieving several milestones in Test cricket. Ashwin has a big chance to become the third-highest leading wicket-taker for India surpassing Harbhajan Singh’s tally. The 36-year-old is just 5 wickets short of Harbhajan’s tally of 417 wickets. The Turbanator is currently India’s third-highest wicket-taker behind Anil Kumble (619) and Kapil Dev (434), respectively. Ashwin has been included in the playing XI for the first Test match at Green Park, Kanpur.
India’s Leading Wicket-Taker in Tests
Anil Kumble - 619 wickets in 132 matches
Kapil Dev - 434 wickets in 131 matches
Harbhajan Singh - 417 wickets in 103 matches
Ravichandran Ashwin - 413 wickets in 80 matches*
Ishant Sharma - 311 wickets in 105 matches*
Earlier, Ashwin didn’t get a chance to play against England earlier this summer on the tour.
The veteran spinner also has an opportunity to equal Kumble’s tally of a most 10-wicket haul for India in Test cricket. Ashwin (9) is just one behind Kumble (10) and he will look to achieve the milestone in the first Test itself.
Meanwhile, India’s stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane won the toss and elected to bat first against New Zealand in Kanpur on Thursday. The series is part of the World Test Championship cycle and both teams will look to get the crucial points here.
After winning the toss, Rahane said that the young squad is excited to play under the new coaching staff led by Dravid.
“Looking to bat first. Pitch looks really good. Generally slows down later on here. It’s an opportunity for all of us here to do well here and in Mumbai. Few of the senior guys are missing. So it’s an opportunity for the youngsters. Shreyas is making his debut. We are all excited to play under the new coaching staff. I personally enjoy playing under Rahul bhai. New Zealand are a quality side. 3 spinners, 2 seamers (on bowling combination)," Rahane said at the toss.
India picked Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav as their bowling options.