Ravichandran Ashwin, who rose to limelight as a crafty and skillful finger spinner, specialized in bowling the powerplay overs in T20 cricket, is now out of contention for the national side for more than 3 years now. Post the Champions Trophy 2017, the Indian team management has emphasized on wrist spinners in the limited overs games, which has resulted in R Ashwin being overlooked since then. But does his performance justify this?

Overall International Numbers:

Ashwin T20I

With an impressive economy rate of 6.97 and Strike rate of 19.70, R Ashwin has done a brilliant job so far in the T20Is. However, these numbers do not portray the complete picture. Let us look at how his numbers stack up against all other bowlers involved in the games Ashwin has been a part of:

Ashwin in t20is

Ashwin in international T20 games has clearly been better than rest of the bowlers playing in the games Ashwin was a part of.

  • Ashwin has conceded 0.82 runs per over less than all other bowlers in the games in which he played
  • With a strike rate of 19.70, Ashwin takes nearly 2 balls less than other bowlers for each dismissal.

Let us look how has Ashwin fared as compared to all other spinners playing in the games Ashwin was a part of:

ashwin in t20i
  • R Ashwin has taken nearly 6 balls less and conceded nearly 7 runs less per dismissal than all spinners who bowled in the games Ashwin was a part of, while conceding 0.22 runs less per over.
  • Also, Ashwin has taken 0.57 wickets more than the other spinners playing in the games Ashwin was involved in.

IPL numbers and Stats:

A look at the phasewise comparison between R Ashwin and all other spinners who bowled in the games Ashwin played:

ashwin in powerplays
  • In Powerplays, R Ashwin has taken 11 balls (nearly 2 overs) less than other spinners for each dismissal.
  • While there is not much difference in checking the run flow (dot percentage and runs on non-boundary balls), Ashwin has conceded lesser boundaries, with almost 2 balls more than other spinners for each boundary, owing to his lower economy.
ashwin middle overs
  • The numbers are not much different when it comes to middle overs, except for the fact that Ashwin concedes boundaries a little less frequently (nearly 2 balls more than other bowlers for each boundary).
  • In death overs, Ashwin conceded nearly 1.5 runs per over less than other spinners and has taken 3 balls more to concede a boundary.

Overall, when we compare R Ashwin with other spinners in the games that he has played, the Chennai-based finger spinner has been way ahead in both wicket-taking ability and economy in the powerplays, there is not much difference in the middle overs while being much more economical in the death overs.

Let us have a look at how Ashwin’s numbers satck up against all bowlers who bowled in the games Ashwin played in:

[Relative “parameter” = Ashwin’s numbers – Other bowlers’ numbers]

R Ashwin IPL
  • R Ashwin in powerplays has been sensational, conceding 1.20 runs per over less than others while taking nearly 6 balls less than others for picking a wicket .
  • The wicket-taking ability decreases in the remaining phases, but the economy remains better than others as he concedes boundary less often.

Let us find out how has Ashwin performed in recent years in the IPL (since 2015):

ashwin ipl economy
  • While the economy in middle and death overs has not changed drastically, there has been a huge increase in the economy in powerplays (nearly 2 runs per over). Overall economy has also increased by more than 1.5 runs per over.
ashwin strike rate
  • Ashwin’s effectiveness in the powerplays has decreased significantly as he has taken 17 balls more than he did before 2015 per dismissal.
  • The overall strike rate has also taken a dip, which probably has been one of the reasons why he is not in the scheme of things for the national side.
  • Ashwin has bowled significantly higher percentage of overs in middle overs in recent years. While his powerplay numbers have not been upto the mark leading to him bowling less in that phase, he can certainly be used more in death overs than he is used right now.

Let us have a look at how Ashwin has performed in comparison with all other bowlers he has played with/against.

Ashwin in IPL since 2015
  • While Ashwin has continued to stay highly economical, conceding 1.73 runs per over less than others, his strike rate has taken a massive dip, especially in the powerplays.
  • Death bowling is an area Ashwin has certainly improved upon, having positive impact on all parameters in the death overs phase.
  • While Ashwin has been difficult to hit for boundaries (as evident from his good Relative BpB), bastsmen have found it easier to manoeuvre singles and doubles off his non-boundary balls.

Overall, we can say Ashwin has been exceptional in terms of economy in both T20Is and IPL, but has struggled to pick wickets regularly off late. The strength which he possessed in the initial phase of his career, being the go-to man in the powerplays, has faded away a bit in recent years, which has led to his overall decrease in effectiveness. The numbers in recent years have not done justice to the skill Ashwin possesses, but there is certainly room for much more improvement, especially the wicket-taking ability.

The role might have changed a bit in recent years, making him bowl in a more defensive style, but for Ashwin to be at his absolute best, he must get back to bowling in the powerplays more often and hence his wicket-taking knack.