New Delhi: Premier India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who recently surpassed legendary Kapil Dev’s tally of 434 Test wickets, has revealed that he wanted to be a batter and used to bowl medium pace in the past to become the next “Kapil Paaji.”
The 35-year-old Ashwin, while playing his 85th match, went past Dev’s 434 Test scalps to become India’s second most successful bowler in the longest format on Sunday. He achieved the milestone after dismissing Charith Asalanka during Sri Lanka’s second innings in the first Test, which India won by an innings and 222 runs.
“Feeling so humbled. 28 years ago, I was cheering for Kapil Paaji along with my dad when he went past Richard Hadlee’s record. Even in my wildest dream, I never thought of going past his tally of wickets because I always wanted to be a batsman especially when I started as an eight-year-old,” Ashwin said on his Youtube channel.
“In 1994, batting was my fascination. Sachin Tendulkar was just emerging into the scene and Kapil Dev, himself was a terrific striker of the ball. In fact, I used to bowl medium pace on my dad’s advice back then so that I can try to be the next Kapil Paaji. From then to become an off-spinner and to represent India for so many years… I never thought I will play for India,” he added.
Notably, the legendary leg-spinner Anil Kumble with his 619 scalps in 132 matches is the highest wicket-taker for India in Test cricket.
Ashwin is the fourth Indian bowler after Kumble, Dev and Harbhajan Singh to take more than 400 wickets in the longest format of the game. He also became the ninth highest Test wicket-taker of all-time, moving past New Zealand great Richard Hadlee (431) and Sri Lanka’s Rangana Herath (433), apart from Kapil.
Among active Test players, the Tamil Nadu-born cricketer is the third-highest wicket-taker after England fast bowling duo Stuart Broad (537) and James Anderson (640).
Ashwin also thanked everyone for their wishes on his achievement.
“I am so grateful and so humbled by this achievement. I thank each and everyone who has congratulated me,” he said.