As India continues to tighten its grip over the second Test against England, R Ashwin has added another accolade to his name. On the second day of the second match between the two teams at Chepauk, Ashwin surpassed Harbhajan Singh to become the second-highest Indian wicket-taker in home Tests.
On Sunday, Ashwin completed his 266 home Test wickets, replacing Harbhajan Singh to take the second spot in the highest-wicket-takers of the Indian team. Harbhajan has now slipped to the third position with 265 wickets. Anil Kumble is still the highest-wicket-taker in the category with 350 wickets.
Ashwin also crossed the milestone faster than Harbhajan as he picked up 266 wickets in 45 matches, while it required Bhajji 55 matches to get to 265 wickets.
Expressing his ecstasy over his latest achievement, Ashwin said that surpassing Bhajji is ‘incredibly special’ for him. He also said that during his early days he used to take inspiration from Bhajji’s bowling style.
“When I was watching the 2001 series where Bhajju Pa (Harbhajan) was playing, I didn’t even imagine that I would go out and become an off-spinner for the country,” Ashwin said while speaking at a virtual press conference after the match.
“I was still a batsman for my state, trying to accelerate a career towards batting and playing for the country, I wasn’t sure whether I would go on and become a player for the Indian team.
“Lot of my teammates from that age, from that generation, you know, used to make fun of me, because I used to bowl like Bhajju Pa, my action, I used to try and bowl like him and all that.
“So, from there on to come one and actually break the record of something that he possesses, has to be incredibly special. I didn’t know of it, now that I do know of it, I feel happy. Sorry, Bhajju Pa…,” he added.
Ashwin has totalled his overall Test wickets to 391 in 76 matches at a brilliant average of 25.26. During the second day, Ashwin also the first bowler to take 200 wickets of left-handed batsmen.
On the second day of the match, Ashwin scalped his 29th five-wicket haul, clinching vital wickets of the England team to limit their score at 134 runs. The wickets he dismissed include Dom Sibley (16), Dan Lawrence (9), Ben Stokes (18), Olly Stone (1), Stuart Broad (0).
India will resume its second innings from 54 runs after losing Shubham Gill. Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara have contributed 25 runs and 7 runs, respectively, and would start the day on Monday.