Senior off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin on Sunday surpassed Harbhajan Singh to become the second highest wicket-taker in Tests played in India.
Ashwin got past Harbhajan, who took 265 wickets in India at an average of 28.76, by dismissing Ben Stokes with a perfect off-spinner on the second day of the second Test against England here.
Overall, Ashwin has so far taken 391 wickets from 76 Tests at an impressive average of 25.26. The 34-year-old seasoned campaigner has picked five wickets in an innings a staggering 29 times and 10-wicket hauls seven times, with a best innings figures of 7/59 and match return of 13/140. Ashwin’s 266 wickets at home has come at an average of 22.67. Spin legend Anil Kumble is the leading wicket-taker in Tests in India with 350 scalps at an average of 24.88.
Kumble is also India’s leading wicket-takers in Tests with 619 scalps to his game.
Harbhajan is third in the overall standings with 417 wickets and Ashwin, who is inching towards the 400-mark, is fourth. The legendary Kapil Dev is second with 434 wickets. Meanwhile, Ashwin said he had not even imagined he will go on to create such records when he had started.
“When I was watching the 2000-01 series (India vs Australia at home) when Bhajju (Harbhajan Singh) was playing, I didn’t even imagine that I would go on to become an off-spinner for the country. I was still a batsman for my state trying to accelerate a career towards batting and playing for the country. I wasn’t even sure that I would be a player for the Indian team,” said Ashwin of the series where Harbhajan Singh took a hat-trick and took 32 wickets to help India win the series 2-1.
“A lot of my teammates from my age, that generation, used to make fun of me because I used to bowl like Bhajju pa. My action… I used to bowl like him so. From there to come on and actually break the record of something he possesses has to be incredible. But I didn’t know of it. Now that I know of it, I feel happy. Sorry Bhajju,” added Ashwin, who took 5/43 for his 29th five-wicket haul, while speaking to the media. Harbhajan, who has 417 Test wickets, later tweeted, “You are a champion @ashwinravi99 I wish you many more records far bigger than this.. keep it up.. More power to you brother Handshake God bless.”