Harbhajan Ashwin

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Veteran Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh has admitted he would call Ravichandran Ashwin a legend when they meet next time. The Tamil Nadu cricketer became the fastest Indian to 400 Test wickets during the recently-concluded pink-ball game against England.

Ashwin is currently the fourth-highest wicket-taker for India in Tests and needs just 34 wickets to leapfrog both Harbhajan and Kapil Dev on the list. With Ashwin’s stock continuing to rise in the longer format, Harbhajan was quick to applaud his former teammate.

Due to the mental and physical rigours associated with Test cricket, Harbhajan termed Ashwin’s feat as a remarkable achievement. However, Bhajji also stressed that Ashwin would still be a legend even without 400 wickets by meriting his match-winning ability.

“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,” explained Harbhajan in a chat with Star Sports.

“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," said Bhajji, adding, "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.”

Harbhajan further added it was heartening to watch Virat Kohli referring to Ashwin as a legend. The veteran also insisted he would do the same to Ashwin when they meet next time. “It was great to hear Virat Kohli saying that he will be calling Ashwin a legend going forward. I will also call him a legend when I meet him next time,” Harbhajan said.

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Hope Ashwin can maintain stranglehold on top batsmen from opposition: Harbhajan

The former India spinner also revealed that he hopes Ashwin could maintain his stranglehold over top batsmen from the opposition. Harbhajan tipped his hat towards Ashwin for his record against Joe Root and Ben Stokes and believes the Englishmen have been dominated by him.

“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.

“So, R Ashwin has a greater responsibility to get them out and he has not done that now but has done that very well from the time he has been playing.

“I pray that he continues doing so going ahead, that R Ashwin keeps a stranglehold on the main batsmen from the opposition team,” Harbhajan concluded.