Cricket, they say, is a great leveler. A pair of big ICC awards for Ravichandran Ashwin has even moved Harbhajan Singh, once India’s leading off-spinner. The Turbanator, as Harbhajan Singh is fondly called for his feisty approach towards the game, has praised Ashwin for bagging the ICC Cricketer of the Year and the ICC Test Cricketer of the Year awards on Thursday.
In September, when New Zealand were biting the dust against India in a Test series, Harbhajan Singh and Ravichandran Ashwin were caught in an unnecessary ‘war’ when the Punjab bowler hinted that India’s spinners picked wickets due to the rank turners that favoured home team bowlers.
Harbhajan Singh was quoted as saying: “What we used to get, can be termed as ‘little favour’ and what happens now is ‘lot of favour’. There’s hell and heaven of a difference between the two. There should be a balance between bat and ball. Neither the batsman nor the bowler should get extra advantage”
“Skill should be the deciding factor and not the conditions. Once the conditions start playing a bigger role, skill falls behind,” Harbhajan added.
Only 2 in my 103 tests.. Kumble and my test wicket count would have been something else if we got wickets like last 4 years we playing on👊 https://t.co/fvkdVw1I1v— Harbhajan Turbanator (@harbhajan_singh) October 9, 2016
Harbhajan’s quotes, at the height of India’s spin domination against the Kiwis, became the talking point of the series with even skipper Virat Kohli fielding questions at his media briefings ahead of the third Test in Indore.
Kohli dead batted Harbhajan Singh’s pitch jibe, saying: “See even if it is a turning pitch you have to bowl well. There is no… spin doesn’t happen only off the pitch. Spin is about how many revs you impart off the shoulder first. And then the ball will do something off the pitch.
“I quite clearly remember after we lost to New Zealand in the World T20, suddenly their spinners were quality and we were found out. I don’t see anyone talking about that now. The same spinners have played. Why have they not been able to pick wickets? It is as simple as that.”
Statistically speaking, Ravichandran Ashwin has been on a roll last year. In 20 Tests, he has taken 133 wickets at an average of 19.41, 15 five-fors (including 8 in the first innings) and five ten-wicket match hauls. He has been the leading all-rounder in Tests, having scored 793 runs, many of these valuable contributions that gave India decisive leads. India won 13 of these 20 Tests.