Five Indians with most Man of the Series awards in Tests
On this day back in 2016, the Indian cricket team completed a 3-0 whitewash of New Zealand in the Test series with a mammoth 321-run victory at the Holkar Cricket Stadium in Indore.
The star of the show for India was spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who picked up six wickets in the first innings and seven in the third to not only win the Man of the Match but also the Man of the Series award.
So on the day of Ashwin's exhilarating return, we take a look at five Indian players with most Man of the Series awards in Test cricket:
Ravichandran Ashwin (7)
Following that win over New Zealand, Ashwin got his seventh Man of the Series award, putting him sixth on the list of players with the most of those awards, but on the top when it comes to the Indian players. His first award came in 2011 when West Indies toured India. In the final Test of the series, the spinner picked nine wickets and also scored a century. There has been no looking back since, as the 34-year-old went on to claim the award against some of the best sides like New Zealand, Australia and Sri Lanka.
Virender Sehwag (5)
The only Indian to score two triple centuries in Test cricket, Virender Sehwag played 104 Tests for India and went on score 8586 runs in as many as 39 series. During that tenure, the hard-hitting right-hander claimed the Man of the Series award on five occasions; the joint-second-highest for his country. Sehwag claimed his first award during the 2003-04 series against Pakistan where he scored his maiden triple-ton. A year later, when South Africa toured India, he bagged his second and the prize kept on coming until 2010 (another one against Pakistan and two against Sri Lanka).
Sachin Tendulkar (5)
Batting great Sachin Tendulkar sits on level terms with Sehwag, having won five Man of the Series awards during his Test career between 1989 to 2013. Tendulkar played 200 Tests for India, taking part in 74 series. He, however, had to wait nearly 10 years to win his first Man of the Series award. His first two came against Australia in a home and away series in 1997-98 and 1999-20, while the third was against England in 2002. It took a while for him to grab the rest, but in 2007, he was rightly adjudged as the Man of the Series against Bangladesh in 2007 before claiming the final piece in 2010 against Australia.
Kapil Dev (4)
In a career that lasted almost two decades, former India captain Kapil Dev won as many as four Man of the Series awards. Kapil Dev played 131 Tests for India, taking part in 38 series, scoring 5248 runs and picking 434 wickets. It was in 1981 that the all-rounder claimed his first Man of the Series award when England toured India for a six-match series. He scored 318 runs and picked up 22 wickets to be rightly given the award. Next year, he was at it once again, against the same opponent but this time at their own turf. His third came against the mighty West Indies in a six-match series where he picked 29 wickets, including two five-wicket hauls. In 1985, he claimed his final prize against Australia down under.
Harbhajan Singh (4)
Harbhajan Singh played 103 Tests for India and was a complete revelation, picking 417 wickets at an economy of 2.84. During the course of his career, he took part in as many as 47 series and won the Man of the Series awards on four occasions. His first came against Australia in 2001 when he picked 32 wickets across three matches, including a hat-trick as Indian won the series 2-0. The same year, he was at it again, this time against West Indies in a drawn series. Five years later, in 2007, he dismantled South Africa by picking 19 wickets in three games to claim his third Man of the Series award. And eventually, the final piece came during the 2010-11 series against New Zealand for an all-round show.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Noah Seelam