Photo: BCCI

Kings XI Punjab's recently-appointed Director of Cricket Operations and Head Coach, Anil Kumble hailed Ravichandran Ashwin as the national team's "premier spinner" in Test match cricket on the back of his performances and records in the format of the game.

In the first Test match against South Africa at Visakhapatnam, Ashwin became the joint-fastest bowler to reach the milestone of 350 wickets and in the second Test at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune, he became only the fourth Indian to bag 50 wickets against the Proteas.

"He's the fastest to 350 Test wickets, it's something amazing," India's leading wicket-taker, Kumble told Cricket Next. "You know, I think Ashwin, not just as a bowler but as an all-rounder, is an asset to the team."

Ashwin, captain of KXIP in the VIVO Indian Premier League in the last two seasons, has also scored over 2,000 runs in Test cricket with four centuries, laying credence to his batting skills as well.

The 33-year-old is also the leading wicket-taker in Tests (356) since his debut in 2011, edging Nathan Lyon by a wicket even though the Australian has bowled in 42 innings more than the Indian.

"He's a class act," Kumble remarked, adding commendations to the Tamil Nadu off-spinner's variations and consistency in bowling.

Ashwin joins list led by Kumble

In the first innings of the second Test against South Africa, Ashwin dismissed Quinton de Kock for his 350th, ending a 75-run partnership, captain Faf du Plessis, highest-scorer Keshav Maharaj and Kagiso Rabada to end with figures of 4/69 in 28.4 overs.

India, though, toiled on the field as they had reduced the visitors to 53/5 before the tail wagged to power them to a respectable 275.

"One of the biggest problems with this South African team is that they bat till No. 11," Ashwin explained. "You have to bowl at them like you have you do to the top order, whoever walks in, including Rabada as well. It was hard work."

Rabada was Ashwin's 50th South African wicket, becoming only the fourth Indian to reach the milestone in a list led by Kumble, and followed by Harbhajan Singh and Javagal Srinath.

In the second innings, Ashwin snapped Dean Elgar and du Plessis and ended with 2/45 in 21 overs and a match haul of 6/114.

Earlier, fellow KXIP teammate Mayank Agarwal scored his second Test century.

India went on to win the second match by an innings and 137 runs and claimed the series as well.