Fast Bowlers: Who Is Better, Ashwin & Jadeja, Or Kumble & Singh?

By Dhanu Delphi on October 11, 2019

They say fast bowlers hunt in pairs in test cricket and the same can be said of spinners. Over the years, India have had a number of spin twins that have worked their magic together and left the opposition batsmen bamboozled. The two greatest spin twins in recent years for India have been Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh, and Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.

While it is always difficult to draw comparisons between different bowlers from different eras, we take a look at the stats behind these two sets of fabulous spin bowlers to see which spin duo is the bigger threat.

Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh

Kumble bowled a unique brand of leg spin. This worked well for him and turned him into India’s most successful wicket taker in test cricket with 619 wickets. Singh is third on the list of leading test wicket takers for India with 417 wickets to his name. Together, they proved to be a lethal combination for India. The duo has played 54 test matches together, taking a total of 501 wickets between them.

They won 21 out of the 54 matches they played together. They have also shared a total of 12 Man of the Match awards during this period. Kumble and Singh picked up 38 five wicket hauls and 9 ten wicket hauls spread across home and away matches. They had a bowling average of 30.16 and a strike rate of 64.91.

Those are impressive numbers, which is why they are among India’s top three test wicket takers. However, the numbers put up by Ashwin and Jadeja are even more impressive.

Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja

Before we get into the test bowling stats of Ashwin and Jadeja, we must point out that both Ashwin and Jadeja are far superior test batsmen when compared to Kumble and Singh. This definitely gives them an edge when you draw a comparison as players overall. However, they also excel in the bowling department as the stats display.

Ashwin and Jadjea have played only 33 test matches together compared to Kumble and Singh. However, they have won 25 out of the 33 matches. They have picked up a total of 360 wickets between themselves. They have also shared a total of 9 Man of the Match awards. Ashwin is now fourth on India’s list of leading wicket takers in test cricket with 50 wickets. Meanwhile, Jadeja (the only player of these four to make India’s 2019 World Cup squad) is in 10th place with 204 test wickets.

The spin twins have taken 25 five wicket hauls and 6 ten wicket hauls. They have a bowling average of 22 and a strike rate of 52.64. There’s no doubt that based on the numbers, Ashwin and Jadeja have a much more impressive record than Kumble and Singh. 

What The Stats Don’t Say     

While numbers don’t lie, they also don’t paint a clear picture as there is vital information that these numbers don’t convey. Kumble and Singh have a less impressive record because they ended up playing a lot more test cricket outside India. The pitches are not very spin friendly outside of India.

Kumble and Singh played 20 overseas test matches. Meanwhile, Ashwin and Jadeja have played just 4 away test matches. One reason why Ashwin and Jadeja do not play together overseas is because India now have a great selection of fast bowlers. The selectors prefer to play three fast bowlers and just one spinner.

Playing more tests in India has helped Ashwin and Jadeja to have a test record that is a lot more impressive. Ashwin (33 years) and Jadeja (30 years) should play as a duo for India for the next couple of years. They should finish as the most successful spin duo for India in test cricket. This will help India’s odds at the sportsbooks.