Ravichandran Ashwin was four wickets away from completing 500 scalps in Test cricket before taking the field against England in Visakhapatnam. But he was left stranded on 499 as India won the game by 106 runs to level the series 1-1. The veteran off-spinner remained wicketless in the first innings, conceding 61 runs in 12 overs. Though he pocketed three scalps in England’s second essay, he has to wait for another week to reach the monumental milestone.
Ashwin dismissed England’s top batters in Ben Duckett, Joe Root and Ollie Pope to put India in a pole position. However, former cricketer Kevin Pietersen felt that the off-spinner was chasing an individual milestone which impacted his performance.
“Ashwin was just chasing milestone. That’s why he didn’t bowl as well as he could have bowled. He did get it right on occasion. I thought he was way more threatening bowling wider outside off-stump around the wicket. I think he bowled over the wicket way too much to the right-handers. He can change bowling over-bowling around-bowling over more,” Pietersen told Jio Cinema.
The former England captain further stated that Ashwin would get relaxed and perform better once he picks up the next wicket to complete 500 Test wickets.
“I’m certainly never going to say that he hasn’t got it or the England bowlers have found him out. He is a tremendous bowler and he’s got some big breakthroughs. It is about the team; it’s not about the individual. He will want one more wicket and when he gets that maybe you’ll see him a lot more relaxed, the shoulder drops and I can just now get on with the game,” said Pietersen.