New Delhi, October 8: Harbhajan Singh, India's third highest wicket-taker in Tests, said R Ashwin can break his mark of 417 and may even go past 600 wicket-mark set by Anil Kumble once he finishes with his career.
"People talk a lot about Ashwin's ability to bowl better in home conditions, but we also have to realise that there are other spinners as well who were bowling on the same pitches at the same time. He was better than all of them," Harbhajan told India Today.
Ashwin completed 350 Test wickets in his 66th Test, the first Test against South Africa at Visakhapatnam, and is now the fastest Indian bowler to achieve that feat, surpassing Anil Kumble (77 Tests).
Harbhajan said the way Ashwin is progressing, he could go past both the former spin bowlers. "I am not sure about 600 wickets, but 417 is very close. The way he is going, he can definitely achieve that 400-wicket mark and can get to 500 wickets. 600 Test wickets is very far but if he has to achieve that, he has to keep himself very fit and prolong his career. I think if he is fit, he can achieve anything," said Harbhajan, who has bagged over 700 international wickets.
Ashwin has taken 242 Test wickets at home from 39 matches, while rest of the 108 wickets were grabbed in 27 away Tests.
However, Harbhajan defended Ashwin saying the off-spinner has worked hard for his wickets on the pitches given to him.
"Ashwin has been brilliant with the ball. When we talk about home conditions, he has been very good and one cannot discredit him for that. Why is he taking more wickets than other spinners at home?
"Reason - he has been more consistent, he has lot of variations and right sort of brain and has set a right example of how to bowl on turning pitches. It may sound easy but actually, it is difficult to bowl on turning pitches. One should know how and where to bowl, and that is what he has been doing better than others," Harbhajan said.