On the last day of the Kanpur Test, Tom Latham sliced R Ashwin onto his stumps, breaking the great Harbhajan Singh’s record of 417 Test wickets towards becoming India’s 3rd-leading wicket-taker in the Test format, trailing only Anil Kumble (617) and Kapil Dev (434).
Ashwin described the experience as a “wonderful milestone,” despite conceding not the first time that his role model, Harbhajan Singh, had a part in his evolution as an off-spinner.
“These are numbers that are just happening because of the effort I have been putting in. I am trying to enjoy my game. I am not worried about what number I am surpassing; it is a wonderful milestone. When Harbhajan Singh bowled that famous spell against Australia in 2001, I did not think I would be an off-spinner one day,” Ashwin told Shreyas Iyer in a BCCI-posted video.
Don’t Know Whether I Can Copy Harbhajan’s Style Now: R Ashwin
“I was inspired by him and here I am. Actually, I was more of a batter, and a lot of people know this story. After that 2001 Border-Gavaskar Trophy, I decided to take up spin bowling. That’s how I started, I have been on my action for a while, don’t know whether I can copy Harbhajan’s style now,” he added.
India’s head coach, Rahul Dravid, also congratulated Ashwin, pointing out how outstanding he has been to surpass the incredible score in only 80 Tests. “Harbhajan was a really fine bowler, someone I’ve played a lot of cricket with. He was a terrific bowler for India and what Ashwin’s done to be able to go past in just 80 Test matches is a phenomenal achievement,” Dravid made the remarks during a virtual news conference following the Kanpur Test, which finished in a tie after NZ pulled off an offence on the last day.
“Ashwin has been an absolute match-winner for India, even today you saw on this difficult wicket the way he pulled us back into the game (and also) on that third morning with that spell of 11 overs. And today just to keep us alive in the game is a tribute to his skill and ability,” Dravid added.
“I think he’s just evolved; he keeps growing. He’s one of those guys who keeps thinking about the game, keeps changing, keeps evolving. That’s why he’s got where he has. You don’t achieve what Ashwin has achieved without growing and improving and evolving. It’s a pleasure to have someone like him in the dressing room and to work with him. It’s phenomenal and really happy for what he’s achieved.”
Congratulations @ashwinravi99 wish you many more brother.. God bless.. keep shining 👏👏
— Harbhajan Turbanator (@harbhajan_singh) November 29, 2021
Harbhajan Singh, who last played a Test in August 2015 and was India’s 3rd-highest Test wicket-taker for nearly a decade, congratulated Ashwin on Twitter, “Congratulations @ashwinravi99 wish you many more brother. God bless, keep shining.”