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Ravichandran Ashwin jumped to No.5 ranking for Test all-rounders after his ton and 8-wicket haul in the Chennai Test against England recently. With his batting coming good now, Ashwin is a making a strong claim for the best all-rounder’s spot in Tests. England too have a world-class all-rounder in Ben Stokes in their squad, and once the third Test starts, the contest between Stokes and Ashwin would reignite as to who is a better Test all-rounder between the two. Cricwizz makes a statistical analysis to find out.

Bowling 

Home/away records

 R AshwinBen Stokes
%age of wickets@home6948
%age of wickets@away3148
%age of wickets@neutral04
Total wickets394159

Being a spinner, Ashwin has been extremely successful at home, taking 69 % of his total Test wickets in India. For the record, Ashwin has taken 271 wickets @ 22.49 in 45 Tests at home, with 23 five-wicket hauls and 6 ten-wicket hauls.

He has taken 31 pc (123 wickets) of his total Test wickets away from home in 31 Tests. However, in SENA countries (SA, England and NZ and Australia), he has not managed a single five-wicket haul in 20 Tests, implying he has not been that devastating on pitches offering little to no assistance to spinners. 

In comparison, Stokes has taken 48 % (77 wickets) of his total Test wickets at home. But he also has 48 % (77 wickets) of his total wickets away from home. Rest 4 % (5 wickets ) came on neutral grounds. He has managed 1 five-wicket haul in India, but Ashwin has not able to do so in England. 

Bowling performance in won matches

Ashwin wins this battle hands down as his 69 % of total wickets (273) have come in won causes, but Stokes has just 47 % of total wickets (74) to show in won causes.

Batting

 R AshwinBen Stokes
Batting average at home29.8938.90
Batting average overseas26.4638.59
Tons510
Fifties1123

Stokes has been a better performer with the bat than with the ball. He enjoys a batting average of 38.90 with 6 tons in 32 Tests at home, with the innings of his life being the 135 not out against Australia at Leeds in 2019. England won that match by 1 wicket. His away record with the bat is almost similar, averaging 38.59.

In comparison, Ashwin averages below 30s in both home and away, not doing full justice to his batting talent until now in the past two series, before making a career-defining ton in the Chennai Test. He has 5 tons to show for his work with the bat in Tests, but four of them came against lower-ranked West Indies. Hence, Ashwin has some work to do before he could catch up with Stokes, the batsman.

Batting performance in won matches

In won matches, Stokes averages a healthy 44.83, meaning he scores 44% of the team’s score in winning causes. But Ashwin averages just 30.55, implying his contribution with the bat is just 30% to the team’s score in winning causes.

Hence, Ashwin does not qualify as a complete all-rounder as he fails to balance contributions with bat and ball in won causes for the team. But Stokes makes almost 50% contribution with the bat and ball in won causes for the team.

4th innings performances

Fourth-innings performances sets apart the men from the boys. Let's take a look at their performances with bat and ball in the fourth innings.

4th innings performanceR AshwinBen Stokes
Wickets6931
Five-wicket hauls60
Batting average28.221.54
Tons02
Fifty01

Bowling

In the fourth innings, Ashwin beats Stokes in the bowling department, taking 69 wickets @ 19.13 with 6 five-wicket hauls. But Stokes has managed only 31 wickets @ 24.48 with 0 five-wicket hauls. But when calculated as a percentage to the their total number of wickets, it comes down to about 19 % for both.

Batting

In terms of batting, Stokes fares slightly better than Ashwin in the fourth innings, averaging 28.20 compared to off-spinner’s 21.54. But Stokes has 2 tons, including the epic 135* at Leeds, and 1 fifty to show in fourth innings, compared to 0 scores of fifty or more by Ashwin.

Fielding

Ashwin is lethargic on the field, and is too slow a runner, and has to be hidden on the field. But Stokes is a live-wire on the ground, and fields at slips most of the time to pluck out those edges behind the stumps.

Verdict: Stokes is a batting all-rounder, while Ashwin is a bowling all-rounder, but Stokes enjoys a better balance in terms of bowling and batting performances at home and away, while Ashwin has some work to do, especially his overseas records in both batting and bowling.

Please note: All stats are up to February 21, 2021.