Mumbai: India’s latest spin sensation R Ashwin has been chosen for the Dilip Sardesai award for the best Indian cricketer in the recently-concluded Test series against West Indies. It will be presented to him on December 10 in Chennai. The award comprises a trophy and a cheque for Rs. 5 lakhs.
Ashwin, 25, picked up the Man-of-the-Series award for his 22 wickets at 22.90 and 121 runs, which included a century in the third and final Test. He made his Test debut in Delhi, where he netted match figures of 9 for 128, including a five-wicket haul in the second innings as India clinched victory by five wickets.
Ashwin found the second Test in Kolkata more challenging, as match figures of 4 for 186 attest. However, he stormed back in Mumbai with another Man-of-the-Match effort. His 5 for 156 helped India restrict West Indies from crossing 650 after they had at one stage been 518 for 4; and then with the bat he scored a brisk 103 from 118 balls - the highest score of India’s first-innings 482. Ashwin’s heroics outshone his illustrious senior team-mates, and in reaching three figures in just his third appearance, Ashwin became the first Indian since 1962 to take five wickets and score a century in the same match.
On a dramatic final day, by backing up his senior spin partner Pragyan Ojha with 4 for 34, Ashwin finished a wicket short of joining Imran Khan and Ian Botham in the record books for a century and 10 wickets in the same match. The Man-of-the-Series award was a fitting reward for Ashwin, who forced his way into the Test squad on the basis of some economical work for India in limited-overs cricket.