Yorkshire have signed a man at the top of his game.
Ravichandran Ashwin recently became only the fourth Indian to reach the 350-wicket mark in Test Match cricket, joining fellow spinners Harbhajan Singh and Adil Kumble alongside seam bowling all-rounder Kapil Dev.
The other three have all topped 400 wickets, with leg-spinner Kumble leading the way with 619 before retiring in 2008, three years before Ashwin debuted with the red ball for India.
In reaching 350 in October, he became the joint fastest in Test cricket to reach that mark, alongside Sri Lankan Muttiah Muralitharan, in 66 appearances.
India beat South Africa in the first Test in Vizag, with Ashwin taking eight wickets in the match, including a first-innings seven-for as he reached the milestone.
They went on to win the series 3-0, and then completed a 2-0 series victory over Bangladesh, the latter victory being in their maiden home day/night contest at Kolkata. Such was the domination by the seamers, he only bowled five overs in the game and went wicketless. But he still finished with the most international wickets of any bowler in the most recent decade – 564 across all formats.
The off-spinner, aged 33, will represent his third county having previously played for Worcestershire and Nottinghamshire, the latter as recently as the summer just gone.
A tall offie who can also bowl leg-spin, he also has more than useful batting prowess down the order with four Test hundreds.
Ashwin has made more than 200 appearances across all formats for India, although hasn’t played for them in a one-day or T20 international for just over two years.
Those two formats provided him with his first taste of international cricket whilst on tour in Zimbabwe in mid-2010, and he debuted in Tests against the West Indies in Delhi at the back end of 2011, taking three wickets in the first innings and 6-47 in the second as the hosts secured a five-wicket win chasing 276.
His nine wickets in the match was the second best haul by an Indian debutant.
He was part of India’s 2011 World Cup winning squad on home soil, though was rarely used.
A player who shot to fame in India through his appearances for Chennai Super Kings in the IPL, he opened the bowling against Yorkshire in a 2012 Champions League tie in Durban, although went wicketless.
Ashwin has played nine Championship matches for Worcestershire and Notts in 2017 and 2019, taking 54 wickets with four five-fors and two six-fors.
He is the fastest Indian to 100 Test wickets having reached the mark in his 18th Test. In the first South Africa Test last month, he took his 21st five-wicket haul in home conditions. Only three bowlers in the history of the game have more on home territory, while Jimmy Anderson has matched that mark.
Kumble is one (25), Sri Lankan Rangana Herath has 26 and Muralitharan has 45.
A 2016 Wisden Cricketer of the Year and also named in their Test team of the decade, he started life as an opening batsman before turning to off-spin, going a long way to explaining his healthy first-class batting average of just over 31.
In 2016, he was also named the ICC Cricketer of the Year and their Test Cricketer of the Year. That same year he reached the 200-wicket mark in Tests in only his 37th appearance, the second fastest of all time after Australian Clarrie Grimmett (36 matches).
Ashwin has leadership experience having most recently captained Kings XI Punjab in the IPL. Before joining Yorkshire, he will play in the next edition of the IPL for Delhi Capitals.
While Ashwin can also bowl leg-spin, he says he has also dabbled with bowling left-arm spin before. And reports suggest he wasn’t a bad footballer in his school days either.
He might well be popular in the morning warm-ups, as a result.
However, Yorkshire fans will just settle for him being prolific from 11am onwards this summer.
BornSeptember 17, 1986, Madras (now Chennai), Tamil Nadu
Role Bowling allrounder
First ClassTamil Nadu v Haryana at Chennai, Dec 9-12, 2006
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