Former Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh reacted to Ravichandran Ashwin’s heartfelt tribute to him in the post-match conference after the latter went past his tally of most wickets by an Indian bowler on home soil.
Ravichandran Ashwin is at that stage of his career when every time he performs, he tends to create or break records. The champion off-spinner was once again the tormentor-in-chief for the visiting English team as he claimed his second successive five-wicket haul of the series to knock over the visitors for a poultry 134 in their first innings.
And, during the course of taking those five wickets, Ashwin went past the ‘turbanator’ Harbhajan Singh to become the second-highest wicket-taker in Test match cricket on home soil. The moment of truth came when the off-spinner knocked over Ben Stokes with a peach of a delivery, one that landed on middle and leg before going on to hit the top of off-stump.
This was Ravichandran Ashwin’s 266th scalp across 87 innings that he has bowled in India. Harbhajan Singh, on the other hand, had taken 265 wickets in 103 innings at an average of 28.76 with 18 five-wicket-hauls and 4 ten-fors. Ashwin, on the other hand, has taken his 269 home wickets at an average of 22.56 which includes 23 five-fors and 6 ten-wicket hauls. The legendary off-spinner is now behind India’s highest wicket-taker, Anil Kumble, who claimed 350 wickets in 63 home Tests at an average of 24.88.
After breaking Harbhajan’s record, Ravichandran Ashwin paid tribute to Harbhajan Singh, stating it was the ‘turbanator’s’ exploits against Australia during that historic 2001 Test series that inspired him to take up off-spin bowling. He also cheekily apologized to Harbhajan for breaking his record and said “Sorry Bhajju pa.”
Reacting to the video posted by the BCCI’s official Twitter handle, Harbhajan Singh lauded Ashwin for his achievement besides wishing for more success for the off-spinner
“You are a champion @ashwinravi99 I wish you many more records far bigger than this.. keep it up.. More power to you brother God bless,” Harbhajan Singh wrote.
— Harbhajan Turbanator (@harbhajan_singh) February 14, 2021
As far as the overall wickets taken by both off-spinners is concerned, Harbhajan Singh has 417 Test scalps to his name but Ravichandran Ashwin is slowly closing on the gap. The Tamil Nadu off-spinner has 392 wickets in 76 Tests at an average of 25.27, and with the kind of form, he is in currently, one can safely assume that the day isn’t far before Ashwin leapfrog his idol in the all-time highest wicket-takers list for India.