County news June 20, 2012

Essex close to Harbhajan deal

ESPNcricinfo staff

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.

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

    @randyOZ ya i dont see any spinner in adelaideXI team with 409 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.

  • sachin 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?

  • Dummy4 on June 21, 2012, 13:00 GMT

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

  • Samuel 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!

  • Randolph 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.

  • Manjunath 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!!!

  • V.L 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.

  • John 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 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 ...

  • Dummy4 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 it??

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