India’s lead spinner Ravichandran Ashwin completed 350 wickets in test cricket last week and also became the fastest to achieve this feat, overtaking the record previously held by Anil Kumble.
Many fans have however gone on to speculate that the man from Tamil Nadu has only performed well in home conditions and has been exposed overseas. But this is were India’s former spinner Harbhajan Singh begs to differ.
Speaking to India today, Harbhajan Singh openly went on to admit that Ashwin’s ability at home was far better than those who have played or are playing in the Indian side.
“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,” said Harbhajan.
With the rate at which Ashwin is currently picking up wickets, Harbhajan feels that it isn’t very long before his tally will get overtaken. However, on the other hand, Bhajji also feels that reaching Kumble’s tally will be a daunting task.
“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.”
Even while Harbhajan once stated that both him and Kumble weren’t given such turning wickets that is currently being offered to Ashwin, he has now gone on to praise the latter by saying that he worked really hard to make things work for him.
“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,” said Harbhajan.