Senior India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin took two wickets in the warm-up match against Leicestershire, his first game since his recovery from COVID-19. Ashwin, who arrived in England late after testing positive for the illness, bowled 11 overs and gave 31 runs, increasing his chances of being selected for the rescheduled fifth Test against England, which begins on Friday (July 1).

The 35-year-old Ashwin first dismissed Shubman Gill before dismissing opposing captain Samuel Evans, who was stumped behind the stumps by KS Bharat. It remains to be seen if the team management chooses Ashwin as a second spinner with Ravindra Jadeja or Shardul Thakur as a fast-bowling all-rounder.

Ashwin is just eight wickets away from being India’s all-time leading wicket-taker versus England. On the panel, he will overtake BS Chandrasekhar (95 wickets) and Anil Kumble (92 wickets). The experienced Chennai tweaker has a chance to become the third Indian to score 3,000 runs and capture 100 wickets in men’s Test cricket. He is 69 years old and is running away from the milestone.

Ashwin is also on the verge of being the second Indian player to record 450 Test wickets, behind Anil Kumble. He is just eight wickets away from 450 Test victories. Previously, he had eclipsed Harbhajan Singh (417 wickets) and Kapil Dev (434) to claim second place on the list of India’s best wicket-takers in the longest format.