India v England Tests
Ashwin seals record-breaking Test double
The unstoppable India off-spinner has become the seventh player in Test history to join the 50 wicket, 500-run in a calendar year club
1 December 2016, 03:00 PM AEST
India's Ravichandran Ashwin has confirmed his status as the world's best allrounder time and again in 2016, but one statistic bears that out perhaps more than any other.
During India's victory against England in Mohali, Ashwin became just the seventh player in Test history to complete the double of 50 wickets and 500 runs in a calendar year.
It's the first time it's been done since 2009, when Australia's Mitchell Johnson snared 63 wickets and scored exactly 500 runs to claim the prestigious ICC International Cricketer of the Year award.
Ashwin, who had rescued his side from a precarious position with a valuable 72 in the Mohali Test against England, has accumulated 545 runs in 2016, including a pair of hundreds in the Caribbean through what's been a breakout year of sorts with the bat for the Indian off-spinner.
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Against the West Indies, he was entrusted to bat at No.6, from where he made those two three-figure scores, and while he's been shuffled between six and seven against England, he's produced a half-century in each Test to date to play a crucial role with the bat.
Legendary India batsman Sunil Gavaskar said the move to promote Ashwin to six paid dividends for captain Virat Kohli and coach Anil Kumble.
"He has repaid that faith," said Gavaskar. "I am not surprised at all.
"He started out as an opener in his younger days, so he has a fair idea of what batting is all about."
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With the ball, Ashwin's deeds of 2016 have been well documented, with the 30-year-old racing to 200 wickets in just his 37th Test – the second-quickest rate in terms of matches played of all time.
Fifty-nine of those wickets have come in 2016, his second-most productive year with the ball to date (he took 62 in 2015), though he's far from done yet.
With potentially another four innings to both bat and bowl against England before the year is out, Ashwin could enter uncharted waters; no player has completed the 70 wickets, 700 runs double in Test history.
South Africa's Shaun Pollock, England's Sir Ian Botham and Kapil Dev of India all achieved the 50 wicket, 500 run double twice throughout their prolific careers.
Test cricket's 50 wickets, 500 runs in a calendar year club
1978: Ian Botham – 66 wickets at 18.19; 597 runs at 39.80
1979: Kapil Dev – 74 wickets at 22.95; 619 runs at 30.95
1981: Ian Botham – 62 wickets at 25.54; 629 runs at 28.59
1983: Kapil Dev – 75 wickets at 23.18; 579 runs at 22.26
1998: Shaun Pollock – 69 wickets at 20.44; 593 runs at 29.65
2001: Shaun Pollock – 55 wickets at 21.38; 573 runs at 52.09
2005: Andrew Flintoff – 68 wickets at 24.41; 709 runs at 30.82
2008: Daniel Vettori – 54 wickets at 26.12; 672 runs at 35.36
2009: Mitchell Johnson – 63 wickets at 27.42; 500 runs at 33.33
2016: Ravi Ashwin – 59 wickets at 22.83; 545 runs at 44.41
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