The Indian cricket team is truly blessed to have two premier spinners to dictate the show for the side, especially at home conditions. The number one Test team in the world has banked upon R Ashwin and Jadeja to be the prime candidates to shoulder the responsibilities for a while now.
Both these spin all-rounders Ashwin and Jadeja are on top of their game and highly experienced. This solves a lot of issues for captain Virat Kohli.
Notably, both these spinners are attacking bowlers and provides you with a flurry of wickets in almost every Test at home. In the recently-concluded Test match in Vizag against South Africa, Jadeja and Ashwin amassed 14 wickets between them to help India win the match by 203 runs and take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
Both these players also registered their respective milestones in their splendid careers. Ashwin became the fourth Indian to claim 350-plus Test wickets. He also became the joint-fastest to 350 scalps in 66 Tests to equal former Lankan legend Muttiah Muralitharan.
Ashwin accounted for eight scalps against the Proteas that included a splendid figure of 7/145 in the first innings.
Meanwhile, Jadeja also chipped in with six wickets in the Test match becoming the fastest to 200 wickets by a left-arm spinner in Tests.
Jadeja achieved the same in his 44th Test match and broke Rangana Herath’s record of 47 matches. Overall, this was a special Test match for both Jadeja and Ashwin.
With India wanting to do well in the ongoing ICC World Test Championship, these two players’ presence make things all the more important.
Here we decode the success of Ashwin and Jadeja in Tests at home.
Ashwin and Jadeja fare better than Kumble-Bhajji combo
Ashwin and Jadeja are two match-winning heroes for skipper Kohli. This is more so when the side is playing in India.
The Kohli-led Indian team has now won 25 of the 33 Tests Ashwin and Jadeja have played together. Now If we compare these two to the last potent combination of spinners in Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh, there is a huge difference.
Legends Kumble and Harbhajan were part of 21 out of 54 wins for India when playing as a combination. So there is a significant improvement in this.
Meanwhile, in home conditions, Ashwin and Jadeja are unstoppable as a pair.
Jadeja and Ashwin have been part of a winning team in 22 out of the 29 matches won by the Indian team and have combined to take 329 wickets between them. Their bowling average is 21.29 while the strike rate reads 51.91.
Both spinners have thrived at home in their Test careers
To be successful at home, one needs to understand the trades. It isn’t just about having turning pitches or slow surfaces that will hand you success on home soil or for that matter in the sub-continent.
What you actually need is the clarity and where to pitch the balls. It’s all about consistency, patience and doing things right. Planning is also essential in this regard.
Now both Ashwin and Jadeja are superb customers when it comes to dominating the circuit at home. They know how to go about the show and earn maximum returns from the surfaces on offer.
Both thrive on quality. Interestingly, both these players aren’t great turners of the ball as well.
When you look at Ashwin, out of his 66 Tests, he has played 39 of them in India. And his average of 22.71 tells you the story. With 242 wickets at home, Ashwin has been a frontrunner as a spinner.
Here we look at his numbers to get a better view-
Overall matches: 66, Wickets: 350, Best: 7/59, Average: 25.39, Five-wicket-hauls: 27
In India: Matches: 39, Wickets: 242, Best: 7/59, Average: 22.71, Five-wicket-hauls: 21
Meanwhile, Jadeja has been superb as well at home. Out of 44 Tests overall, he has played 29 at home. Out of his 204 Test scalps, 150 have come on home soil to show why he like Ashwin is completely in sync with the conditions and the surfaces available here. In fact, Jadeja’s average at home is better than Ashwin as well.
Here we look at Jadeja’s numbers to get a better view.
Overall matches: 44, Wickets: 204, Best: 7/48, Average: 24.22, Five-wicket-hauls: 9
In India: Matches: 29, Wickets: 150, Best: 7/48, Average: 20.32, Five-wicket-hauls: 7
Ashwin and Jadeja deserves laurels for standing tall
One needs to credit these two for giving their all and being the frontrunners. Both aren’t wrist spinners and this also shows why normal finger spinners have their space and edge in Test cricket.
Given the ICC Test Rankings for Bowlers, Ashwin raced to 12th in the standings after his heroics against SA. He has 770 rating points.
Jadeja is on 12th place with 760 points. When you look at the rankings, out of the first 12 players, only two spinners are present. The rest 10 are all pacers.
Now, this highlights why these two rank among the best in the world. One does have the likes of Nathan Lyon and Rashid Khan, however, these two are stupendous for their longevity and presence.
Harbhajan highlights why Ashwin has trumped others at home
Recently, Harbhajan pointed out that picking up Test wickets at home is crucial and he highlighted why Ashwin is claiming more scalps than the others at home.
“Ashwin has been brilliant with the ball. When we talk about home conditions, he has been very good and one cannot discredit him for that. Why is he taking more wickets than other spinners at home?
“Reason – he has been more consistent, he has a lot of variations and right sort of brain and has set a right example of how to bowl on turning pitches. It may sound easy but actually, it is difficult to bowl on turning pitches.
One should know how and where to bowl, and that is what he has been doing better than others,” Harbhajan told India Today.