Former Indian opening batsman Gautam Gambhir has weighed on the debate about India’s best off-spinner between Ravichandran Ashwin and Harbhajan Singh. The debate has been doing rounds ever since Ravichandran Ashwin reached 400 Test wickets during the third Test against England. Meanwhile, Gautam Gambhir has an interesting take on the discussion while taking into accounts all the parameters.
Ravichandran Ashwin has emerged as one of the greatest match-winners for India in recent times. The 34-year old off-spinner has not only starred with the ball but also with the bat in the ongoing four-match rubber against England. His 400th Test scalp was the speedster Jofra Archer and is only 16 adrift of Harbhajan Singh’s 417. Surpassing Harbhajan’s 417 will also make him the third-highest Test wicket-taker for India.
As for Gautam Gambhir, he thinks that Harbhajan Singh is the better off-spinner at his peak, while Ravichandran Ashwin is the best off-spinner right now. The former Indian opener believes that Harbhajan playing with that kind of wickets along with no DRS is what keeps him marginally ahead of Ashwin.
“It’s difficult to compare eras, but at the moment I would feel that with everything around, I would still rate Harbhajan better when he was at his peak. And Ashwin at the moment is probably the best off-spinner in the world but if I have to compare with Harbhajan Singh, with the kind of wickets he played on with no DRS,” Gambhir told ESPN Cricinfo.
Harbhajan had that advantage of bowling a doosra: Gautam Gambhir
Simultaneously, Gautam Gambhir noted that Harbhajan Singh had the advantage of bowling a doosra, which Ravi Ashwin does not. The 39-year old believes that despite the number of variations Ashwin has, he would rate Harbhajan. But from a bowler’s viewpoint, Ashwin is a complete and better package than Harbhajan.
“At the same time, Harbhajan had that advantage of bowling a doosra. He [Ashwin] doesn’t have that option because doosra is not allowed by a finger spinner. Despite of that, the amount of variations Ashwin has, it’s a tough one but at the moment, I would still give it to Harbhajan Singh. If I talk from the overall package point of view, Ashwin is probably a better package than Harbhajan purely from a bowler’s point of view,” he added.