R Ashwin

KANPUR: India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has said that surpassing Harbhajan Singh’s tally of 417 Test wickets is a “wonderful milestone”.

Ashwin on Monday had surpassed Harbhajan Singh to become the country’s third-highest wicket-taker in Test cricket. Ashwin scalped the wicket of Tom Latham (52) to go past the milestone.

“These are numbers that are just happening because of the effort I have been putting in. I am trying to enjoy my game. I am not worried about what number I am surpassing, it is a wonderful milestone. When Harbhajan Singh bowled that famous spell against Australia in 2001, I did not think I would be an off-spinner one day,” Ashwin told teammate Shreyas Iyer in a video posted on bcci.tv.

“I was inspired by him and here I am. Actually, I was more of a batter, and a lot of people know this story. After that 2001 Border-Gavaskar Trophy, I decided to take up spin bowling. That’s how I started, I have been on my action for a while, don’t know whether I can copy Harbhajan’s style now,” he added.

The off-spinner had equalled Harbhajan’s tally of 417 wickets on Sunday after he dismissed Will Young on Day 4.

New Zealand managed to survive by the barest of margins on the last day of the first Test against India after a gritty performance from their lower-order batters insured that visitors walked away with a draw here at Green Park, Kanpur on Monday.

“It is still sinking in the fact that we could not win, we were so close yet so far. Tough thing to get over for me, it happened once in Jamaica. It takes some time for me as a bowler, it just did not happen today,” said Ashwin.

“I mean it is a matter of pride. You play for India, I had my 200th wicket on the same ground and now I surpassed Harbhajan Singh’s tally on this ground. I had not played the last Test in Christchurch before the COVID-19 pandemic, god has been kind and I have been able to turn it around,” he added.

Team India managed to take eight wickets on Day 5 of the ongoing first Test but some late drama and stout-hearted performance from visitors’ batters clawed back victory from the jaws of hosts. (ANI)