Friends used to tease because I bowled like Bhajju pa: Ashwin

Off-spinner R. Ashwin, who took a five-wicket haul on Sunday to become the second highest wicket-taker in home Tests for India, surpassing Harbhajan Singh’s tally of 265 wickets, 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.

Ashwin also picked his 350th international wicket at home.

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.”