December 15, 2011

Indian cricket

Bhajji bats for Punter

Jayaditya Gupta

Maybe it’s the spirit of the season, maybe it’s age, maybe it’s just empathy, but when Harbhajan Singh asks critics to lay off Ricky Ponting, it does raise eyebrows. "I don’t think Ponting is finished and I think people are making a big mistake by writing him off," Harbhajan said in response to calls for Ponting to be dropped for the upcoming Test series against India. "Australian fans should not put pressure on Ponting. He is only one innings away from finding his top form."

Bowler and batsman have previous, of course; Ponting was Harbhajan’s bunny when they were both in their prime and the offpsinner was at the centre of the controversial Sydney Test four years ago that almost led to the tour being called off. Now they are in almost the same boat - Harbhajan is out of the side, dropped for this tour because of poor form, and Ponting’s career is clearly in its last few overs. The true test of the new-found love will come when the festive season is over - or if Harbhajan and Ponting come face to face in the ODIs.

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Jayaditya Gupta is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo in India

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