County news June 20, 2012

Essex close to Harbhajan deal

ESPNcricinfo staff
31

Harbhajan Singh is close to agreeing a deal with Essex to play the latter part of the English county season, ESPNcricinfo understands. The move will not include the Friends Life t20 due to contractual issues with the BCCI but he is set to be available once the County Championship resumes.

If the deal is completed Essex will be Harbhajan's second county after previous spells with Surrey where he collected 57 first-class wickets at 21.10 across two separate stints in 2005 and 2007. Harbhajan has been out of favour with the India selectors since being injured on last year's tour to England and has been replaced in the spin department by R Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha.

Essex have had a difficult time trying to retain overseas signings and recently lost the services of Shakib Al Hasan, the former Bangladesh captain, who had been due to be available for all formats including the FLt20 before the Bangladesh Cricket Board declined to give him a No Objection Certificate. Peter Siddle, the Australia fast bowler, had also been due to play for them but that fell through after he returned home from the West Indies injured.

Essex are currently seventh in Division Two of the County Championship and Harbhajan would bolster a spin attack that is currently in the hands of Tim Phillips, a left-armer, 22-year-old legspinner Tom Craddock and offspin from Greg Smith.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • rsrinath on June 22, 2012, 4:24 GMT

    @randyOZ ya i dont see any spinner in adelaideXI team with 409 wckts.so i will defntly support your claims.for your information harbajan is the highest wckt taker among the current crop of players.troubling a batsmen like ponting a number of times is not a joke. also not to forget the crucial role that he played in india's WC win last year.he is streets ahead of nathan lyon and definitely better than over rated swann who thinks to be the next murali and has released a book already without even having 200 wckts in his bag.

  • sachinbkere on June 21, 2012, 13:16 GMT

    @randyOZ-u say bhaji cant make the adelaide university 11 but the best batsman australia has produced over the past decade was bhajiji's bunny throughout that period....doesent say much abt the aussies' ability to play spin bowling if a bowler who cannot even make it to a university 11 picks up 32 wkts in 3 tests agnst them....does it?

  • on June 21, 2012, 13:00 GMT

    Good News Bhajji,Now focus on getting back to the Indian team!

  • SDHM on June 21, 2012, 10:53 GMT

    Interesting. Chelmsford is hardly the place to try and regain confidence if you're a bowler - flat wicket + short boundaries = spinner's nightmare!

  • RandyOZ on June 21, 2012, 10:15 GMT

    If a guy like this can get a game for Essex, it is just another nail in the coffin of county cricket. I really didn't realise the talent pools were this shallow. It's actually rather sad. Bhaji wouldn't make the Adelaide University XI in Australia.

  • i_witnessed_2011 on June 21, 2012, 9:06 GMT

    All the best bhajji... Make the most of it... the toss, the loop, the spin hope everything comes back!!!

  • maddy20 on June 21, 2012, 8:44 GMT

    @spence1324 Too bad the low standard IPL teams have won 2 of the 3 Champions League tournaments so far. If that is the standard, then I am ok with it. Hope Bhajji does utilize it to regain some sort of confidence which he is terribly short of right now.

  • jmcilhinney on June 21, 2012, 7:38 GMT

    I'd be interested to know what the contractual issues were about. Does he have some sort of commitment in India during the FLt20 or does BCCI simply not want Indian players playing in T20 leagues other than IPL?

  • Samar_Singh on June 21, 2012, 6:45 GMT

    Poor choice for essex .. Bhajji is of no use in English condition ... Bhajji is very average bowler overseas ...

  • on June 21, 2012, 6:04 GMT

    well something's better than nothing for bhajji .... instead of cooling his heels and doing nothing other than loose confidence its better if he gets on the field and starts bowling ...develops his bowling which has become stagnant and comes out a better bowler ...may not as effective as zaheer was but there's nothing wrong in trying...is it??

  • rsrinath on June 22, 2012, 4:24 GMT

    @randyOZ ya i dont see any spinner in adelaideXI team with 409 wckts.so i will defntly support your claims.for your information harbajan is the highest wckt taker among the current crop of players.troubling a batsmen like ponting a number of times is not a joke. also not to forget the crucial role that he played in india's WC win last year.he is streets ahead of nathan lyon and definitely better than over rated swann who thinks to be the next murali and has released a book already without even having 200 wckts in his bag.

  • sachinbkere on June 21, 2012, 13:16 GMT

    @randyOZ-u say bhaji cant make the adelaide university 11 but the best batsman australia has produced over the past decade was bhajiji's bunny throughout that period....doesent say much abt the aussies' ability to play spin bowling if a bowler who cannot even make it to a university 11 picks up 32 wkts in 3 tests agnst them....does it?

  • on June 21, 2012, 13:00 GMT

    Good News Bhajji,Now focus on getting back to the Indian team!

  • SDHM on June 21, 2012, 10:53 GMT

    Interesting. Chelmsford is hardly the place to try and regain confidence if you're a bowler - flat wicket + short boundaries = spinner's nightmare!

  • RandyOZ on June 21, 2012, 10:15 GMT

    If a guy like this can get a game for Essex, it is just another nail in the coffin of county cricket. I really didn't realise the talent pools were this shallow. It's actually rather sad. Bhaji wouldn't make the Adelaide University XI in Australia.

  • i_witnessed_2011 on June 21, 2012, 9:06 GMT

    All the best bhajji... Make the most of it... the toss, the loop, the spin hope everything comes back!!!

  • maddy20 on June 21, 2012, 8:44 GMT

    @spence1324 Too bad the low standard IPL teams have won 2 of the 3 Champions League tournaments so far. If that is the standard, then I am ok with it. Hope Bhajji does utilize it to regain some sort of confidence which he is terribly short of right now.

  • jmcilhinney on June 21, 2012, 7:38 GMT

    I'd be interested to know what the contractual issues were about. Does he have some sort of commitment in India during the FLt20 or does BCCI simply not want Indian players playing in T20 leagues other than IPL?

  • Samar_Singh on June 21, 2012, 6:45 GMT

    Poor choice for essex .. Bhajji is of no use in English condition ... Bhajji is very average bowler overseas ...

  • on June 21, 2012, 6:04 GMT

    well something's better than nothing for bhajji .... instead of cooling his heels and doing nothing other than loose confidence its better if he gets on the field and starts bowling ...develops his bowling which has become stagnant and comes out a better bowler ...may not as effective as zaheer was but there's nothing wrong in trying...is it??

  • on June 21, 2012, 5:20 GMT

    @ Sam I agree with you. Harbhajan is a far better bowler than Ashwin in longer form of game.

  • banglafan on June 21, 2012, 4:57 GMT

    I think Bhajji should forget about the Indian test / ODI ? T20 teams once and for all and concentrate on playing organised cricket all year around and make a decent living also in the process.

  • satish619chandar on June 21, 2012, 3:19 GMT

    As of the longer format, county still gives lots of games for players.. Bhajji would be mightily relieved to get contract and BCCI to approve it.. More the guys play the game, more they can improve.. I don't expect any miracles but surely some improvement.. Bhajji should come out of his comfort zone and again start his career as he did in his early days..

  • Raj12345 on June 21, 2012, 3:16 GMT

    @Mayank Agarwal. This is one of best comment I seen here. can't control my laugh. You are 100% true.

    Good for Indian cricket. Headache over. Bhajji really afraid to bowl to batsmans when they are in form. We respect what he did for Indian cricket, it is time to take rest and enjoy others. Poor Essex.

  • on June 20, 2012, 22:50 GMT

    Essex will go further down !!!

  • Mr_Anonymous on June 20, 2012, 21:57 GMT

    I think its good for Bhajji and I hope he makes the most of it. The county staff will be professional and just being in a country which values the long format of the game more than the swashbuckling T20 format will be good education for him. I think this is the best way forward for players who are out of form having reached the highest level to work hard towards regaining it. It would be such a pity if Bhajji were to waste his tremendous talent (as witnessed in the epic Ind v Australia 2001 series) by bowling mostly flat and quick or bowling defensively as he has done over the last few years. I also think that maybe the selectors should have a chat with Bhajji and rule him out of ODIs and T20s for the next say 1 year so that he focuses on regaining a place in Tests. That is really where we need him most! I would love to see the attacking, accurate and thinking bowler that he once was again in the future. Here is hoping for and making a wish for Bhajji 2.0 to emerge.

  • spence1324 on June 20, 2012, 21:16 GMT

    A lot of indian fans on here think his stint with Essex is some miracle cure for him, hate to break it to ya but the standard of cricket in the second division is as bad as the standard in the IPL.

  • hems4cric on June 20, 2012, 21:14 GMT

    Zaheer's example really does not fit Harbhajan, Zaheer had the conditions which helped him regain his confidence and the rythm. Harbhajan is struggling in friendly Indian pitches, what good will it do to him in England? The batsmen can milk him royally and dent his confidence even more.. may be he will just retire or just play IPL and make some money for his future..

  • on June 20, 2012, 20:20 GMT

    He can keep Shah company in the dressing room

  • MitenD on June 20, 2012, 19:50 GMT

    Most people have ruled Bhajji out but this stint may help reignite the passion and help bring him back into the fold. Remember Zaheer Khan? That county stint did miracles for him.

  • on June 20, 2012, 18:28 GMT

    county cricket has revived the fortunes of many players, i wouldn't rule harbhajan out just yet, this is what he needs and a strong performance to put pressure on ashwin who in my opinion isn't a good bowler in the long form of the game.

  • BRUTALANALYST on June 20, 2012, 18:07 GMT

    Scraping the barrel here I don't think this is a good decision at all.

  • Bruisers on June 20, 2012, 17:50 GMT

    You don't have to be 'world-class' to succeed in England where batsmen struggle even against part-time spinners. I would disagree with people saying Harbhajan is no more a class bowler. Anyways its good both for Bhajji and for Essex.

  • Vikas_USIT on June 20, 2012, 17:32 GMT

    I guess the English conditions would help the 'medium pacer'.

  • hhillbumper on June 20, 2012, 16:55 GMT

    Why pick a has been bowler who just doesn't have the ability or temperament?

  • brittop on June 20, 2012, 16:17 GMT

    We need something to get our season going!!! Although he's out of favour with the India selectors, I reckon Harbhajan can still produce the goods for Essex. Tim Phillips has never totally convinced me, Greg Smith seems a bit of a "bits and pieces" player, but I have hopes for Tom Craddock.

  • on June 20, 2012, 15:55 GMT

    Shame Shakib couldn't make it, wanted to see him over England again but hopefully next year. Essex should consider themselves luck to be signing Singh, can do a lot of damage for the opposition especially T20.

  • the_wallster on June 20, 2012, 15:05 GMT

    While he is no longer an international class player, he'll be superb in the second division of the county game.

  • Narbavi on June 20, 2012, 14:07 GMT

    Feel sorry for Essex, aren't their good enough players around the world than this man??

  • venkatesh018 on June 20, 2012, 14:07 GMT

    Great news for Bhajji and Indian cricket. Hope many more follow and keep in touch with four-day cricket.

  • RyanHarrisGreatCricketer on June 20, 2012, 13:59 GMT

    btw Shakilb is not bangla capt

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  • RyanHarrisGreatCricketer on June 20, 2012, 13:59 GMT

    btw Shakilb is not bangla capt

  • venkatesh018 on June 20, 2012, 14:07 GMT

    Great news for Bhajji and Indian cricket. Hope many more follow and keep in touch with four-day cricket.

  • Narbavi on June 20, 2012, 14:07 GMT

    Feel sorry for Essex, aren't their good enough players around the world than this man??

  • the_wallster on June 20, 2012, 15:05 GMT

    While he is no longer an international class player, he'll be superb in the second division of the county game.

  • on June 20, 2012, 15:55 GMT

    Shame Shakib couldn't make it, wanted to see him over England again but hopefully next year. Essex should consider themselves luck to be signing Singh, can do a lot of damage for the opposition especially T20.

  • brittop on June 20, 2012, 16:17 GMT

    We need something to get our season going!!! Although he's out of favour with the India selectors, I reckon Harbhajan can still produce the goods for Essex. Tim Phillips has never totally convinced me, Greg Smith seems a bit of a "bits and pieces" player, but I have hopes for Tom Craddock.

  • hhillbumper on June 20, 2012, 16:55 GMT

    Why pick a has been bowler who just doesn't have the ability or temperament?

  • Vikas_USIT on June 20, 2012, 17:32 GMT

    I guess the English conditions would help the 'medium pacer'.

  • Bruisers on June 20, 2012, 17:50 GMT

    You don't have to be 'world-class' to succeed in England where batsmen struggle even against part-time spinners. I would disagree with people saying Harbhajan is no more a class bowler. Anyways its good both for Bhajji and for Essex.

  • BRUTALANALYST on June 20, 2012, 18:07 GMT

    Scraping the barrel here I don't think this is a good decision at all.