Monday 22 August 2016

Ashwin breaks Indian record for most Man of the Series awards in Test cricket

The fourth Test between India and West Indies at the Queen’s Park Oval might not have turned out to be the ideal finale as far as Indian cricket fans were concerned with only 22 overs of play possible over the entire duration of five days. Despite rains only causing havoc for a brief period of time, the poor drainage conditions at the venue meant the viewers were left distraught as no play for possible since Lunch on Day 1.
India’s failure to beat West Indies, for no fault of their own may I add, also meant that Virat Kohli’s side had to relinquish the No.1 Test team ranking they had achieved recently after their victories at Antigua and St Kitts coupled with Australia being whitewashed 3-0 by Sri Lanka. The top spot now belongs to India’s arch-rivals Pakistan who have achieved the No.1 ranking for the first time ever since the rankings were introduced in 2003. The disappointing climax should not take anything away from what has been a splendid series for India with Anil Kumble’s first assignment as India’s head coach proving be a big success. Kohli’s aggressive captaincy paid dividends with Ravichandran Ashwin benefitting the most, though not as many predicted ahead of the series with the ball, but with the bat instead.

As expected, Ashwin ended up as the leading wicket-taker in the four-match series with 17 wickets while more surprisingly, he finished in the fourth spot of highest run-getters in the series with 235 runs – only 16 runs behind the top-ranked Kohli. So it was no surprise that Ashwin bagged the Man of the Series and by collecting his sixth such award, the 29-year-old who has just played 36 Tests, went past Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag as the Indian cricketer with the most number of Man of the Series awards.While he may not be that effective in the shorter formats of the game, Ashwin is proving time and again that he is India’s biggest match-winner in Test cricket. He is on a roll having secured Man of the Series victories in India’s previous three Test series – against Sri Lanka, South Africa and now West Indies.With a packed Test schedule awaiting India at home, only a brave man would bet against Ashwin adding to his collection and inch closer to Sri Lankan legend Muttiah Muralitharan's world record of 11 Man of the Series awards. For the time being, lets take a look at the Top 10 list of Indian cricketers with the most number of the Man of the Series award in Test cricket.

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