When it comes to spin all-rounder in the current era, not many names come to the mind. However, one names stand out and it’s none other than Bangladesh spin all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan who recently achieved a rare double of scoring 3000 runs and taking 200 wickets in Test cricket.
What’s more impressive is that Shakib is the fastest to this club, taking 54 Tests, a match less than the previous record holder Ian Botham of England. He is the only spin all-rounder in this club that has the likes of Chris Cairns, Andrew Flintoff and Kapil Dev, all medium-pace all-rounders.
In comparison with Shakib, R Ashwin of India is another from this club who can give competition to the post of top spin all-rounder. Ashwin has shown signs of brilliance with both bat and ball, albeit on home conditions. He can be the next spin all-rounder to join this club, having scored 2331 runs and taken 336 wickets, but in 64 Tests.
So, who is the best spin all-rounder of the two?
Cricwizz analyses their performance to determine who is better between Shakib Al Hasan and R Ashwin.
Ashwin bats lower down the order despite proven talent as batsman. But his inconsistency sees him bats lower than the keeper and Ravindra Jadeja at home. His batting performance is better at home than in overseas conditions. He has scored all his four tons against West Indies, who rank at the bottom among Test-playing nations. He has been an under-achiever with the bat both at home and away despite possessing better skills and technique suited for the longer version of the game. He averages 29.80 at home and 29.16 away, and hence, he has failed to do justice to his batting talent. Ashwin has 15 scores of fifty and more in 64 Tests, performing under-par with the bat.
Shakib Al Hasan
Shakib has been a proven top-order batsman in Test cricket, and scored runs at difficult pitches and against tough opponents. He has two tons in New Zealand where batting tests the most skilled of Test batsmen. Shakib also has a double ton in Test cricket. Shakib averages a decent 39.69 at home and 38.47 away. Shakib has 28 scores of fifty and more in 54 Tests, contributing to the team’s cause consistently.
Ashwin has better variations and control over his spin bowling. He has stats to prove his wicket-taking abilities. He is extremely successful with the ball in Asia, averaging 22.46 and scalping 277 out of 336 victims in 45 Tests. But away from Asia, he has just 59 wickets to show in 19 Tests at an average of 39.50. At home, he has 20 five-wicket hauls compared to just 6 away.
Shakib Al Hasan
Shakib, like Ashwin, too enjoys a better bowling performance in Asia and sub-continental conditions. But his performance in and away from Asia does not fluctuate as wildly as Ashwin’s. Shakib has taken 144 wickets @ 33.11 in 39 Tests in Asia. Away from Asia, Shakib has taken 57 wickets @ 27.26 in 15 Tests. In fact, Shakib enjoys a better bowling average away from Asia than at home. At home, he has 13 five-wicket hauls compared to 5 away.
Although Ashwin is a much skilled spin bowler and bags wickets in bulk at home, Shakib does not enjoy such virtues. However, Shakib makes up for it with his hard work, persistence, line and length and clever bowling and maintains a consistency in bowling both home and away, unlike Ashwin. Both are match-winners with the ball for their respective teams. In the batting front, Shakib is a much better skilled and talented batsman than Ashwin. Bangladesh are highly dependent on Shakib the batsman unlike India who does not depend much on batsman Ashwin. In comparion, Shakib gives a better output with bat and ball consistently at home and away compared to Ashwin, who away form is a bit of worry. Shakib wins this battle, but by a small margin.