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Most Test wickets for India: Know the top 10 list

While facing Sri Lanka last month, Indian spinner Ravichandran Ashwin created Test cricket history. He moved past Kapil Dev’s record to become the second-highest wicket-taker for India in Tests. Ashwin broke Kapil Dev’s record of 434 Test wickets in the first Test match against Sri Lanka on home soil. But who has taken the most Test wickets for India?

Before we eventually get to the list of bowlers with the most wickets for India in the history of test cricket, it’s important to mention that the country usually has turning tracks where spinners find better purchases over the course of a five-day Test match. As a result, it isn’t surprising to see that six of the bowlers in the top 10 list are spinners.

Below is the list of players with the most Test wickets for India:

Most Test wickets for India: Top 10 list

PlayerMatchesWicketsBBIAverageStrike Rate5-fors10-fors
Anil Kumble13261910/7429.6565.9358
Ravichandran Ashwin864427/5924.1352.2307
Kapil Dev1314349/8329.6463.9232
Harbhajan Singh1034178/8432.4668.5255
Ishant Sharma1053117/7432.461.6111
Zaheer Khan923117/8732.9460.4111
Bishan Singh Bedi672667/9828.7180.3141
Bhagwath Chandrasekhar582428/7929.7465.9162
Ravindra Jadeja592427/4824.4460.4101
Javagal Srinath672368/8630.4964101

Anil Kumble | 619 wickets

When it comes to the question of who has picked up the most Test wickets for India Anil Kumble leads the list. He has picked up 619 wickets across his Test career spanning 18 years. He is regarded as one of the best leg-spin bowlers to play Test cricket and is the fourth-highest wicket-taker in the history of the format.

Kumble made his Test debut against England in 1990 and retired from the sport in 2008. The talking point of his Test career is when he became only the second cricketer in history to pick up ten wickets in a single innings after he achieved the feat against Pakistan in Delhi in 1999.

Ravichandran Ashwin | 442 wickets

Among the active Indian bowlers, Ravichandran Ashwin is the highest on this list. He made his Test debut for India in 2011 and he’s one of the most prolific bowlers in the world. Ashwin is known for his wide variety of deliveries that can often puzzle batsmen and he averages nearly five wickets every match. Ashwin also has the best strike rate among Indian Test bowlers picking up a wicket almost every 52 balls.

R Ashwin is also a more than handy lower-order batsman and he has scored five centuries and 12 half-centuries. Among Indian bowlers, he has the second most five-fors and ten-fors and Ashwin still has time to break Kumble’s fantastic record.

Kapil Dev | 434 wickets

World Cup-winning Indian captain Kapil Dev was the highest wicket-taker for India in Tests for a long time before he was eclipsed by Anil Kumble. The Haryana Hurricane debuted in this format against Pakistan in 1978 and bid farewell to the sport in 1994. He is also the first Indian bowler to take 400 Test wickets.

Among fast bowlers in India who have played over 70 Tests, Kapil Dev has the highest average of 29.64. He is also one of the greatest all-rounders the country has produced and he scored 5248 runs in Test cricket which includes eight tons and 27 half-centuries.

Harbhajan Singh | 417 wickets

Yet another successful off-spinner produced by India, Harbhajan Singh has left his mark with 417 Test wickets and is the fourth-highest wicket-taker in this format. Bhajji played Test cricket for 18 years between 1998 and 2015 and formed a wonderful bowling partnership with Anil Kumble. He is the first Indian off-spinner to get to the 400 Test wickets landmark. He has a remarkable bowling average of 32.46.

Ishant Sharma | 311 wickets

Ishant Sharma is the second-highest wicket-taker for India in Tests among active bowlers. Having played his first Test in 2007, he shot to prominence during the 2007-08 tour of Australia. However, he has had to reinvent his game over the years and has been very resilient. The lanky pacer has never shied away from putting in the hard yards and workhorses like him are an essential ingredient of any successful Test side.

Ishant Sharma is still a guiding figure of the current pace bowling unit and he recently became only the second Indian fast bowler after Kapil Dev to play over 100 Test matches which is a testament to his longevity.

Zaheer Khan | 311 wickets

One of the best Indian fast bowlers, Zaheer Khan single-handedly led the pace bowling unit for India before the emergence of the likes of Ishant Sharma, Mohammad Shami and Jasprit Bumrah. Zaheer made his debut against Bangladesh in 2000 and played his last Test match against New Zealand in 2014.

Zaheer was accurate with his line and length and could swing the ball both ways to trouble the batsmen. He is the only left-arm fast bowler from the country to play more than 50 test matches and has bagged more than 300 wickets. He is also the third bowler after Muttiah Muralitharan (325) and Shaun Pollock (252) to have dismissed the most left-handed batters in Test cricket (237).

Bishan Singh Bedi | 266 wickets

Left-arm spinner Bishan Singh Bedi was regarded as one of the best spinners in the world in the 1970s. He had an incredible average of 28.71 and his 14-year long career for India stretched between 1966 and 1979. Bedi also formed a lethal partnership with another man on this list, BS Chandrashekhar. Bedi has taken the most five-wicket hauls (14) as a left-arm spinner for India and he also holds the record for the most wickets (1560) in first-class cricket among Indians.

Ravindra Jadeja | 242 wickets

Ravindra Jadeja is one of the best Test all-rounders in the country’s history after Kapil Dev and Ravichandran Ashwin. He forms a bankable spin-bowling duo with Ashwin at home and the pair almost always wreaks havoc when bowling in tandem. Jadeja made his first appearance in Test cricket against England in 2012. He has a wonderful bowling average of 24.44 which is only bettered by his teammate Ashwin.

The left-handed all-rounder has also scored 2396 runs in the purest format of the sport at an average of over 35 and he recently registered his highest Test score of 175* against Sri Lanka.

BS Chandrashekhar | 242 wickets

Before the emergence of Anil Kumble, BS Chandrashekhar was regarded as the best leg-spinner produced by India. He troubled plenty of batsmen with his deceit and trickery during his long Test career spanning 16 years between 1964 and 1979. He had an outstanding bowling average of 29.74 and Chandrashekhar also formed a formidable spin bowling combination with BS Bedi. His performance against 6/38 against England at the Oval in 1971 won the ‘Wisden Bowling Performance of the Century’ award in 2002.

Javagal Srinath | 236 wickets

Former Indian pace bowler Javagal Srinath completes this list with 236 wickets in Test cricket. Srinath made his Test debut for India in 1991 against Australia and played for over 12 years before bidding farewell to the sport in 2002. The Indian pace attack was largely led by him in the early and late 90s and his inswing bowling made him a feared bowler, especially in the longest format of cricket. Javagal Srinath finished his career with an excellent average of nearly 30 and he has become a distinguished ICC match referee after his retirement.

FAQs

Who has scored the most Test runs for India?

With 15,921 runs in 200 Test matches, Sachin Tendulkar holds the record for having scored the most runs for India in the longest format of the sport.

Who has taken the most Test wickets for England?

James Anderson has taken 640 wickets in Test cricket and is the highest wicket-taker in England’s history. Anderson also holds the record for the most Test wickets taken by a fast bowler.

Who has taken the most wickets in Test cricket in 2021?

India’s Ravichandran Ashwin topped the wicket-taking charts in Test cricket in 2021. He had scalped 54 wickets in nine matches at an average of 16.64 and a strike rate of 43.0.

Who was the fastest to 400 wickets in Tests?

Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralitharan, who is also the leading wicket-taker in international cricket, was the fastest to 400 Test wickets. He took 72 matches to get to that milestone.

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