CHENNAI: Thursday might be a memorable day for R Ashwin. If he takes the field against Afghanistan in Bengaluru, he will be making his 58th Test appearance. It is a significant number as he will be erasing S Venkataraghavan’s 35-year-old record of being the most-capped Test player for Tamil Nadu with 57 outings.
When Venkataraghavan retired in 1983, there were doubts if that record could ever be broken. The likes of L Sivaramakrishnan, K Srikkanth, and Sadagoppan Ramesh did spark hope in that regard. But the emergence of Murali Vijay and Ashwin saw fans from the state pinning their hopes on the two. “It is a unique achievement. It speaks volumes of Ashwin’s hard work, dedication and commitment towards the game,” was Srikkanth’s compliment for the off-spinner. “I wish him good luck for the game against Afghanistan.”
Former India batsman and Tamil Nadu skipper Subramaniam Badrinath was not surprised by Ashwin’s feat. “He made his first-class debut under me in 2006. He was very talented, hard-working, and was always willing to learn and improve. He put in that extra effort to become a better cricketer. We were happy that we had a dedicated cricketer among our ranks, who would one day play for the country with distinction.
“From then on, his growth has been steady. First, he played in limited overs for India and then Tests. He keeps trying out new variations and always looks to improve.”
Badrinath also felt that Ashwin had the potential to go past Anil Kumble’s record of 619 dismissals to become India’s highest wicket-taker. “Why not? I think he should not bother about statistics and keep bowling the way he does best. He should look to dominate more batting line-ups and keep winning more matches for the country. The more he performs and breaks records — as he normally does — the better it is for both Tamil Nadu and Indian cricket.”