Harbhajan Singh, after Ravichandran Ashwin’s 400th scalp in Test cricket, stated that he has no doubt that the off-spinner is a bonafide legend of Indian cricket, especially in the longest format. He also insisted that Ashwin has been a match-winner for quite some time now for the Test side.
Joining Harbhajan Singh on the list of 400 Test wickets, Ravichandran Ashwin opened up a new page in his Test career, with plenty of wickets in the last two series - against Australia and England. Ashwin, who wasn’t in line to play the first Test in Adelaide got a rare opportunity in the absence of first-choice Ravindra Jadeja. From thereon, there was no dropping, as the off-spinner quickly rose up the wickets column in conditions that were tough for the spinners.
After his success in Australia, Ashwin came back to the familiar conditions in India, where the pitches always helped the spinners. Right across the three Tests in the series, the off-spinner has picked up 24 wickets, reaching the milestone of 400 Test wickets, in the process, becoming the second Indian off-spinner to reach the milestone after Harbhajan Singh. The latter congratulated Ashwin and stated that there is no doubt that Ashwin is a legend of Indian cricket.
"Taking 400 wickets is a very big thing and that too in Test cricket, a format which tests you mentally, physically and every other way. So to dismiss 400 batsmen in that and win the team match after match is a huge thing. There is no doubt that R Ashwin is a legend," Harbhajan said on Star Sports.
"Even if he had not taken 400 wickets, it was not that he would not have been considered a legend because he has won India so many matches. It was great to hear Virat Kohli saying that he will be calling Ashwin as a legend going forward. I will also call him a legend when I meet him next time," he added.
Since his debut in 2011, Ashwin has taken over the mantle from Harbhajan Singh and ensured that India have got success and wood over the visiting countries. With the exception of England in 2012, no country has had its success in India, with the fortress being a pretty damming thing. On top of that, Ashwin has just 17 wickets to leapfrog Harbhajan as statistically the second-best spinner in the country’s success.
The off-spinner, from an English perspective, added that apart from Ben Stokes and Joe Root, there is no one with the ability to take the game away from the hosts. However, he reckoned that the two could take the game away from India and control the game in the last Test in Ahmedabad.
"A bowler's main task is to take wickets and that too the one which is most essential for the team, the main batsman from the opposition team. If I see this England batting, there are two big names in Ben Stokes and Joe Root. They have the ability to take England to a situation from where they can control the match," said Harbhajan.