Veteran off-spinner Harbhajan Singh has recently lauded another Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin. Harbhajan believes that Ashwin will break his 417 Test wickets record and may achieve the 600-Test-wicket milestone too.
Recently, Ravichandran Ashwin performed impressively in the Visakhapatnam Test against South Africa. It was his first international game in 2019 and he bagged eight wickets in that game. During that game, the off-spinner had the bowling figures of 46.2-11-145-7 and 20-5-44-1. Also, during that game, Ashwin became the joint-fastest bowler to claim 350 Test wickets.
Though Ashwin has achieved massive success in his international career, his overseas Test performances are not so shining. Talking about this point, Harbhajan has opened up his angel to support Ashwin.
Harbhajan told India Today, “People talk a lot about his (Ashwin) ability to bowl better in home conditions, but we also have to realise that there are other spinners as well who were bowling on the same pitches at the same time. He was better than all of them.”
I think if Ravichandran Ashwin is fit, he can achieve anything – Harbhajan Singh
At present, Ravichandran Ashwin is the fourth most Test wicket-taking bowler (350 wickets) for India. The top three bowlers in this list are Anil Kumble (619 wickets), Kapil Dev (434 wickets) and Harbhajan Singh (417 wickets).
Harbhajan feels that Ashwin will surely break his record and can reach the 500 Test wickets mark too. He further added that Ashwin could even reach the milestone of 600 Test wickets if he maintains his present fitness.
Harbhajan claimed, “I am not sure about 600 wickets, but 417 is very close. The way he is going, he can definitely achieve that 400-wicket mark and can get to 500 wickets. 600 Test wickets is very far but if he has to achieve that, he has to keep himself very fit and prolong his career. I think if he is fit, he can achieve anything.”
Ravichandran Ashwin has been brilliant with the ball
Out of his 350 Test wickets, Ashwin has picked up 242 Test wickets at home. Among the Indian bowlers, only Anil Kumble (350 wickets) and Harbhajan Singh (265 wickets) bagged more home Test wickets than Ashwin.
Harbhajan feels that it is not easy for the spinners to bowl consistently well on the turning pitches. So, he believes that it is unfair to decline Ashwin’s tall success.
Harbhajan added, “Ashwin has been brilliant with the ball. When we talk about home conditions, he has been very good and one cannot discredit him for that. Why is he taking more wickets than other spinners at home?
“Reason – he has been more consistent, he has lot of variations and right sort of brain and has set a right example of how to bowl on turning pitches. It may sound easy but actually, it is difficult to bowl on turning pitches. One should know how and where to bowl, and that is what he has been doing better than others.”
Ravichandran Ashwin was the former top-ranked Test bowler and all-rounder. Apart from playing 66 Tests, Ashwin has also played 111 ODIs and 46 T20Is where he has picked up 150 and 52 wickets respectively.