India’s Ravichandran Ashwin has ended 2015 as the number one bowler of the year according to the ICC Test Player Rankings. Australia’s cricket captain, Steve Smith, ranked as the number one batsman. The final results came in after the Boxing Day Tests were concluded.
Ashwin has achieved the number one bowler’s position for the first time. He may well have had the chance to get to this position after Dale Steyn’s injury put a stop to his bowling at 3.5 overs into England’s second innings.
When the Durban Test began, Ashwin was behind by four points. The tables were turned, and now Steyn is four points behind Ashwin. Ashwin has completed the year with 62 wickets in nine Tests. He began the year in the 15th position, and has made his way to the top rank by steadily moving up the chart.
It has been some time since India has had a Test Bowler finish in the first position at the end of the year. The last time this occurred was in 1973, when Bishen Bedi ranked first in the ICC Players Rankings for Test Bowlers. In addition to this, Bedi is also in the ICC Hall of Fame. His claim to fame is that he is the only bowler from India who has ever topped the Test bowling table.
Notable Indian players who have reached the second position during the height of their careers have been Anil Kumble, Bhagwath Chandrasekhar, and Kapil Dev.
Commenting on his achievement, Ashwin said: “Finishing the year as the number-one ranked Test bowler is like an icing on the cake that I have managed to build over the past 12 months. I always wanted to get there one day. There can’t be a better way to finish 2015.”
He further noted: “Replicating what Mr Bedi did is something I am very proud of. The former India captain was a master at his craft and I am very humbled to follow in his footsteps.”
Ashwin ended by thanking thos who helped along the way: “I would like to thank my Test captain Virat Kohli, who has been a big influence, and, of course, the team management, my team-mates and the BCCI for their continued support.”