'Ravichandran Ashwin can scalp 500 wickets,' Harbhajan Singh expects Indian spinner to break his Test record
After making a successful return to the longest format of the game against South Africa, Ravichandran Ashwin has been backed by Harbhajan Singh to break the latter's Test record for India. Ashwin, who received his first start in the whites this year became the quickest to scalp 350 wickets in Test cricket. In speculations about finishing his international career lately, Harbhajan opined that Ashwin can definitely surpass him by breaking his record in the longest format of the game.
Spin legend and former skipper Anil Kumble is the highest wicket-taker for India in Tests cricket with 619 wickets. Ashwin is fourth in the list and is only behind Harbhajan, Kapil Dev and Kumble. The Turbanator in his glittering career bagged 417 wickets in Tests and currently stands as the third-highest wicket-taker for India. Ashwin is only 67 wickets short of equalling Harbhajan's Test record.
Harbhajan believes the way Ashwin is operating in the whites for India, he can touch down the 500 wicket mark in Tests. "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," Bhajji was quoted as saying.
Hailed as one of the most senior-most campaigners present in the Indian Test setup, Ashwin failed to receive the nod from the Indian selectors in the previous bilateral series with the West Indies. Though Ashwin was named in the 15-man squad for the Caribean tour, the 32-year-old didn't feature in the Test series which India won comfortably by whitewashing the Jason Holder-led side 2-0 in their own backyard.
With India playing their first home series in the ongoing ICC Test Championship against South Africa, the Virat Kohli-led side decided to operate with Ashwin alongside Ravindra Jadeja as the two stalwarts in the spin bowling department.
While Jadeja became the fastest left-armer to 200 wickets, offie Ashwin laid the foundation of dismantling the Proteas side in the first innings with his 27th career fifer. The 32-year-old finished with seven wickets and pioneered India's thumping win over the Proteas in the series opener.