Ashwin is a very capable bowler, I expect him to get a lot of wickets: Harbhajan Singh

Ravichandran Ashwin
India bowlers Ravichandran Ashwin and Harbhajan Singh. (Photo by PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images)

Ravi Ashwin, who had a surprisingly off-day during England’s first Innings of the first Test of the series at Rajkot, has got support from an unlikely source. Indian off-spinner, Harbhajan Singh was in the news during India’s Test series against New Zealand last month for his comments on how the current pitches have helped Ravi Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja get a truckload of wickets.

After the initial storm, Ashwin tweeted about how he took up spin bowling inspired by Harbhajan’s extraordinary showing during the unforgettable 2001 series against Australia. This was followed by Harbhajan’s tweet appreciating Ashwin.


Ashwin ended up conceding 167 runs today and had only just 2 wickets to show for his efforts. The last time he conceded above 150 runs in India was during England’s last tour in 2012.  And probably for the first time since 2012, Ashwin found the going tough in India. The Rajkot pitch has played true so far and there was only minimal assistance on the first day. With Ashwin failing to create magic on a true pitch, some murmurs began to appear on social media about Ashwin’s returns on such pitches and how these were similar to pitches on which Harbhajan bowled during most of his career.

To nip such criticisms in the bud, Harbhajan came out in support of his former Indian teammate. He was quoted as saying, “Ashwin is a very capable bowler. I expect him to get a lot of wickets. I am expecting India to win at least 3-0.”

He also sang praises about the English batsmen especially Root, Stokes and Moeen Ali who all scored centuries. Yet he said he expected Indian spinners to bounce back in the second innings. This was what he had to say, “Root, Stokes and Moeen are all good players. While they are a young team they have batted well in the Test match so far. But it is still early days. You can’t write off Indian bowlers. It’s one off thing and I am backing both Ashwin and Jadeja to come good in the second innings”.

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He also described how such pitches posed questions to the bowlers. About bowling on such pitches, Harbhajan, who became a father recently, said, “Mazaatoh tab hain jab wickets challenging ho (It’s fun when the track throws up challenge for the bowlers). You have to be consistent with your lines and try different things. You have to toil to get wickets and that brings to the fore your skills as a bowler”.

When queried about his comeback to Ranji Trophy, he responded by saying, “I will be playing Punjab’s next Ranji Trophy game against Tamil Nadu from November 21st. If you would ask me if I am ready for international cricket I would say ‘no’ but post November 21, once I am back in the field, I would consider myself ready for any type of challenge.”

Harbhajan sounded thrilled about after becoming a father stating it brought so much joy that even the joy of World Cup wins seemed smaller in comparison.

“My daughter has been the greatest gift of my life. Now I don’t need to look at anything else. World Cups, Test series wins, these are nothing compared to the joys of fatherhood,” said the spin wizard.

With Amit Mishra underperforming and Anil Kumble at the helm, he can set the cat among the pigeons if he can get on a roll in domestic cricket.

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