India’s off-spinner Harbhajan Singh has backed Ravichandran Ashwin to break his record of 417 Test wickets. Ashwin has already scalped 350 wickets and he is looking good to leapfrog Bhajji’s record. In fact, Ashwin had become the joint-fastest to reach 350 scalps in 66 Test matches with former Sri Lankan legend Muttiah Muralitharan.
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Meanwhile, the Turbanator believes if Ravichandran Ashwin can maintain his fitness, he has the skills to get to 600 Test wickets. Only three bowlers have thus far gone past the 600 wicket mark and they are Anil Kumble, Shane Warne, and Muttiah Muralitharan.
Ashwin has been right on the money.
Ravichandran Ashwin was not picked in the playing XI on the tour of the West Indies but he made a stunning comeback in the team. Ashwin took eight wickets in the first Test match against South Africa and seven out of his eight wickets came in the first innings.
“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,” said Bhajji.
Meanwhile, Ravichandran Ashwin has a terrific record while playing in the Indian conditions. The talismanic off-spinner has taken 242 wickets in 39 matches played at home whereas he has taken 108 wickets in the remaining 27 overseas matches.
Harbhajan added that Ashwin has been consistent on the Indian pitches which have helped him reap fruits.
“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,” Harbhajan concluded.
Ravichandran Ashwin is 33 years old and he has got another four to five years of cricket left in him if he stays at the top of his fitness. Ashwin can easily go past Harbhajan Singh’s tally and it would be interesting to note if he gets near to 600 Test wickets.
Ashwin will look to continue his good form going in the second Test match against South Africa which starts at Pune from October 10.