Ashwin surpasses Tendulkar, Sehwag

Off-spinning allrounder claims his sixth Player-of-the-Series award in just his 13th Test series

Ravichandran Ashwin has surpassed cricketing icons Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag with his sixth Player-of-the-Series award in Tests, the most of any Indian player.

Ashwin was unsurprisingly named the Player of the Series for India's rain-affected 2-0 win over the West Indies, where he led all bowlers with 17 wickets and was also the fourth-highest run-scorer across the four Tests.

The series was just the 13th of Ashwin's career and it's only the eighth time he's played all Tests in a series.

The award saw him jump ahead of Tendulkar and Sehwag (each named Player of the Series five times) as the most awarded Indian player, but he's still a long way behind the all-time record of 11 set by Sri Lanka's Muthiah Muralidaran.

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It's Ashwin's third consecutive Player-of-the-Series award and his first ever outside Asia.

While the off-spinner's wicket-taking ability was crucial to the series win in the Caribbean, the centuries he scored in Antigua and St Lucia having been elevated to No.6 in the batting order most pleased his skipper, Virat Kohli.

"For me the biggest positive was (wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman) Saha getting runs in the lower order plus Ashwin coming good at No. 6," Kohli said.

"Those were areas that were very important for us to solidify and we have done that in this series.

"We've seen teams who have done well and won consistently, their lower order has contributed, especially the bowlers.

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"These are important runs that take the momentum away from the opposite team. That's something we wanted to work hard on. We have done that and got the results in this series."

Ashwin's award-winning streak began in his debut Test series, against the West Indies in 2011, when he claimed 22 wickets for the series as well as his maiden Test century.

He made it two from two in home series with 18 wickets in two Tests against New Zealand less than 12 months later and then added a further 29 wickets, and another Player-of-the-Series award, in India's 4-0 thrashing of Australia in early 2013.

He had to wait two-and-a-half years for his next award, when he took 21 wickets in India's 2-1 series win in Sri Lanka, which marked the first time Ashwin had won the award in a series outside India.

Ashwin with the Player-of-the-Series award in his debut series // Getty
Ashwin with the Player-of-the-Series award in his debut series // Getty

Another 31 wickets in a low-scoring series win over South Africa late last year made it Player-of-the-Series award number five and he added a sixth in the Caribbean this month.

And with home Test series against New Zealand, England and Australia on the horizon, as well as a one-off Test against Bangladesh in Hyderabad in February, the world's number two ranked Test bowler and number one ranked allrounder could  well add another Player-of-the-Series award to his tally in the next 12 months.

Most Player of the Series Awards (Tests)

11 - Muthiah Muralidaran (Sri Lanka)
9 - Jacques Kallis (South Africa)
8 - Imran Khan (Pakistan)
8 - Sir Richard Hadlee (New Zealand)
8 - Shane Warne (Australia)
7 - Wasim Akram (Pakistan)
7 - Shivnarine Chanderpaul (West Indies)
6 - Ravichandran Ashwin (India)
6 - Malcolm Marshall (West Indies)
6 - Curtly Ambrose (West Indies)
6 - Steve Waugh (Australia)

Meg Lanning Steve Smith