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COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP DIVISION 2

No rest for the wicked spin wizard Ashwin

15 August 2017

Ravi Ashwin led the wicket-taking charts in India's Test series in Sri Lanka with 17 scalps at 25.88 // Getty

Louis Cameron


@LouisDBCameron

Louis Cameron


@LouisDBCameron

County stint looms for India star despite hectic international schedule

He's world cricket's busiest bowler but spin wizard Ravichandran Ashwin is set to turn down the chance of a rare break from the jam-packed international calendar. 

Rested from the limited-overs leg of India's Sri Lanka tour after their 3-0 Test series triumph, Ashwin will reportedly play county cricket in a bid to hone his skills in England ahead next year's five-Test tour there, rather than put his feet up.

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Division Two side Worcestershire, who Australians John Hastings and Nathan Lyon have turned out for this season, look set to be boosted by the world's third-ranked Test bowler. 

Ashwin's first stint in county cricket is expected to begin on August 28. Fellow India Test star Cheteshwar Pujara looks set to rejoin Nottinghamshire after an earlier four-game stint before the Sri Lanka series.

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Ashwin's spin partner Ravindra Jadeja has also been rested from the five-one day international, one-T20 series against Sri Lanka beginning in Dambulla on Sunday. 

Both Jadeja and quick Ishant Sharma have been linked to county deals, but Sharma took to Twitter on Monday to deny reports he'd signed with Warwickshire.


"It is a blessing in disguise for both of them (Ashwin and Pujara) because we will have a fully fledged tour of five Tests in England next year," India's chairman of selectors MSK Prasad said in Pallekele following their innings-and-171-run flogging of Sri Lanka in the third Test.

"It is always good to play and get that first hand feel of the conditions. 

"From a selection point of view they have been rested first and then they have been given consent by the BCCI to go and play county cricket."

Spin whiz Ashwin's five routs Sri Lanka

The move to 'rest' Ashwin comes after he played every game of India's marathon 13-Test home season, in which he sent down 4430 balls to break spin predecessor Anil Kumble's record (3,673 balls in the 2004-05) for the most deliveries in a single season in Test history. 

He sat out Rising Pune Supergiant's Indian Premier League campaign due to a sports hernia, but was back for India's Champions Trophy campaign, before a one-day series in Caribbean and the three Tests in Sri Lanka.

Since the start of 2013, no bowler has bowled more overs – or taken more wickets (361) – in international cricket than Ashwin's tally of 2624.4. Over that period, he's bowled nearly 350 more overs than the next most (Jadeja, with 2281.1) and taken 87 more scalps than the next most prolific bowler (Jadeja again, with 274 wickets).

Ashwin's six hands India stunning win

But a spell in the United Kindgom could well help Ashwin overcome the only legitimate knock on his game: his record outside Asia.

On the subcontinent, Ashwin's Test bowling average sits at a very healthy 22.41. Outside of Asia, that figure balloons out to 42.73.

India accounted for England at home with a 4-0 series victory earlier this year but they haven’t won a Test series in England since 2007.


About the Writer

@LouisDBCameron

A Victorian fast bowler who has played Shield cricket, Louis joined the cricket.com.au team with assistance from the Australian Cricketers' Association's Internship Program