Kanpur, Nov 29: "Feels absolutely nothing at all." With these words off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin on Monday played down his milestone of becoming India's third highest wicket-taker in Test cricket.
Ashwin dismissed Tom Latham to claim his 418th Test wicket and go past Harbhajan Singh on the fifth and final day of the opening Test against New Zealand here. He is now only behind Anil Kumble and Kapil Dev in the overall standings.
After India could not close out the game against New Zealand, Ashwin was asked what the milestone made him feel. "Absolutely nothing at all. These are milestones that are constantly kept on tab, it's wonderful. Ever since Rahul bhai has taken over, he's kept saying how many wickets you take, how many runs you make in 10 years time, you won't remember them," Ashwin said.
"It's the memories that matters so I want to have some special memories going forward in the next 3-4 years," he added after the drawn game.
The match lasted full five days though bad light played a part every evening. Ashwin was diplomatic while talking about the surface. "Anytime pitches are being spoken about and I am asked a question, it turns into a controversy. So, I'll try and keep a tab on that."
Mumbai-born Ajaz Patel (2 not out off 23 balls) and Karnataka-born Rachin Ravindra (18 not out off 91 balls) consumed 8.4 overs after the fall of ninth wicket to eke out a memorable draw for New Zealand in fading light.
"Getting down to the last session, last mandatory over, I think it's played its part, some wonderful Test cricket. The young boy, Ravindra, batted beautifully, showed great composure, Ajaz Patel with his defence," Ashwin said.
"It just tells you a story. Everybody hangs in there, everybody can defend well these days, so it's not as easy as it used to be once upon a time getting these tail-enders out. Great day of Test cricket, I hope people who watched it enjoyed it."
It was a close game and Ashwin was all praise for the traditional format. "The beauty of Test cricket is that you need to want it. It's really hard, it's not one of those formats where you turn up, have a good day, have a good four-over bowl or have a good 20-overs bat.
"There is a lot of pain, there is a lot of hard work, there's a lot of tenacity you need to bring into play. Definitely I am someone who wants to play this format and I enjoy it."
He added that they bowled well on the final day though the last New Zealand pair denied them a win. "We were actually keeping things under control. We were bowling in good areas and we knew if we had the time to go on and put some pressure on them, we could get the job done but light was always going to come in the last session.
"There has been bad light in every single day of this Test match so we did expect it, so no complains. Couldn't get the job done but we stuck together well."
Ashwin is the fourth Indian bowler to take more than 400 wickets in Test cricket. He also became the 13th highest Test wicket-taker of all time, moving past Pakistani fast bowling great Wasim Akram (414) as well apart from Harbhajan.
Among active Test cricketers, Ashwin is the third highest wicket taker after English pacers Stuart Broad (524) and James Anderson (632). Ashwin made his Test debut in November 2011 against the West Indies in Delhi. His wickets have come at a strike rate of 52.4 and average of 24.56.
Apart from his exploits with the ball, Ashwin is also known for his capability with the bat, scoring 2685 runs at an average of 27.68 with five centuries to his name. The man from Chennai has also taken 150 wickets in 111 ODIs and is the third highest wicket taker for India in T20Is with 61 scalps from 51 matches.