Kumble-Harbhajan vs Ashwin-Jadeja: Comparing the two spin-bowling pairs (Tests)
In 2000s, Indian cricket was studded with two world-class spinners. One of the greatest leg-spinners, Anil Kumble, and his compatriot Harbhajan Singh, together annihilated the greatest of oppositions. Their legacy was carried by another spin-bowling pair, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja. The duo, in tandem, has spun India to some memorable Test victories. We compare the numbers of these two pairs in Test cricket.
Kumble and Harbhajan led India's spin-bowling attack in the 2000s. The former is India's leading wicket-taker in Tests, having registered 619 scalps at 29.65. Meanwhile, Harbhajan has the third-most wickets by an Indian in Test cricket (417 wickets at 32.46). Together, they have snapped up 501 wickets from 54 Tests at an average of 30.22. They have as many as 36 five-fors between them.
Ashwin and Jadeja have played a major role in Team India's success, over the years. The former is India's fourth-highest wicket-taker in Tests. He has 409 wickets from just 78 Tests at 24.69. His bowling partner Jadeja has 220 scalps in 51 Tests, and has a similar average (24.32). They have taken 393 wickets from 39 Tests at 22.52 while playing together.
Both the pairs have excelled in home conditions. Kumble and Harbhajan accounted for 356 wickets from 34 home Tests at an average of 27.23. The tally includes 30 five-fors and eight 10-wicket hauls. In one less Test (33), Ashwin and Jadeja have 348 scalps at even better average (21.70). They have a total of 23 five-fors and six hauls of 10 wickets.
Former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly led Team India to several momentous victories overseas. He always backed both Harbhajan and Kumble in away Tests. As a result, Harbhajan and Kumble played 20 away Tests together, taking a total of 145 wickets in them. Paradoxically, Ashwin and Jadeja have featured together in only six Tests, wherein they picked up 45 wickets.
India won 21 out of 54 Tests when Harbhajan and Kumble played together. In those matches, the duo took a total of 253 wickets at a remarkable average of 19.18. On the contrary, India won 30 out of 39 Tests in the presence of both Ashwin and Jadeja. In winning cause, Jadeja and Ashwin have 334 wickets between them at an average of 20.06.