Ravichandran Ashwin played a key role with both bat and ball as India completed a 3-1 Test series win over England on Saturday (March 6).
The off-spinner finished the series with 32 wickets at an average of 14.71 while he amassed 189 runs, including a second innings ton on a tough Chepauk pitch in the second Test.
No wonder, Ashwin earned the Player-of-the-Series award, which was his eighth in the longest format of the game.
Ashwin, 34, is now only eight wickets short of equalling Harbhajan Singh's tally of 417 Test scalps. It could well happen in England later this year but he doesn't want to entertain any such thoughts.
"Honestly, that's not even crossed my mind and if you want me to put my thoughts on it. He is a fantastic bowler. There's a lot that I have learnt from him. I wasn't even an off-spinner when Bhajju paa started playing for the Indian team," Ashwin said at the virtual press conference after India’s innings and 25-run victory in the fourth Test.
"He (Harbhajan) was also an inspiration because of the 2001 famous series (32 wickets in 3 Tests). I never imagined in 2001 that I will be an off-spinner, and I mean who would have imagined those things.
"I was fortunate to play alongside Bhajju paa when I came into the team and also play under Anil Bhai but I would now like to leave my own legacy," he added.
Ashwin aims to grow as a cricketer and a person every day.
"My growth as a cricketer is a direct synonym to the person I am. I want to keep evolving, keep learning and that's my second nature, directly proportional to the kind of cricketer I am and whatever I do, the best that I can be."
Pitch debates dominated the India-England Test series and Ashwin would love to see how the global media reacts when a green top is given to India when they go for a game outside the sub-continent.
"The series win is a testament to the fact that this is a really good Indian cricket team. That's all I would like to say. Other day, I was listening to what Sunny bhai (Sunil Gavaskar) was saying, makes sense," Ashwin said, referring to Gavaskar's statement about not giving too much importance to England experts.
"Only because we are giving attention to people who are making a mockery of it, we are encouraging them to do it non-stop," he further remarked.
Ashwin then sarcastically said he would keenly watch how foreign media cover the criticism from Indian commentators about the pitches served when India is on tour abroad.
"I would like to a pitch covered with grass somewhere else in the world and some of our Indian commentators, taking picture and putting an Instagram post and I will like to see how the global media takes notice and then we will know who's at faulty end."
(With PTI inputs)