India v Australia, 1st Test, Chennai, 2nd day

Laxman criticises Dhoni's use of Harbhajan

ESPNcricinfo staff

February 23, 2013

Comments: 256 | Text size: A | A

Ishant Sharma and Harbhajan Singh talk to MS Dhoni, West Indies v India, 2nd Test, Bridgetown, 5th day, July 2, 2011
'But when do I get a bowl, skip?' © AFP
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Players/Officials: MS Dhoni | Harbhajan Singh | VVS Laxman
Series/Tournaments: Australia tour of India
Teams: Australia | India

Former India batsman VVS Laxman has criticised MS Dhoni's use of offspinner Harbhajan Singh in the Chennai Test. Making a comeback to the side and playing his 100th Test, Harbhajan bowled 25 overs - 11 fewer than Ravindra Jadeja - and took one wicket. Jadeja went for 71 in 36 overs, 16 runs fewer than Harbhajan conceded, and took two wickets.

There was a time on the second morning when Harbhajan had not bowled for about 200 minutes; his last over had been about 20 minutes before tea on day one. When he did get to bowl, 51 overs after he had last operated, Harbhajan picked up his first wicket - that of Peter Siddle - but was removed an over after that. Even in his previous Test, in Mumbai against England, Harbhajan bowled about half the number of overs that R Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha did. Laxman said he was surprised Harbhajan was not utilised properly.

"I am really surprised with the tactics of MS Dhoni," Laxman said on air in Star Cricket's commentary on the Test. "You want your spinners to take the major bowling chunk. It is surprising that Harbhajan hasn't come into action since yesterday tea time. You want to have more and more variety. You should know which bowler the batsman will not be comfortable facing. That's going to be the spinners of the Indian team."

Laxman said these tactics could crush Harbhajan's confidence. "Harbhajan, who is low on confidence, [now] he knows that the captain doesn't trust his ability," he said. "Secondly, he is not getting enough overs to get back in rhythm. There is a lot of Test-match cricket left in this match, and I am sure that he will play a big part as the match progresses. So it is very important to give confidence to Harbhajan. Not giving him bowling, obviously you are sending wrong signals to him."

Laxman brought up the Mumbai Test too. "This is what happened in Mumbai Test match when Ojha and Ashwin bowled almost double the number of overs what Harbhajan bowled. Especially for someone coming back into the Test team after a long time, he will be low on confidence, he will be a little insecure, and that's when as a captain you are supposed to encourage your bowler."

Laxman said that Harbhajan was not new to performing well for India, and just needed an arm around the shoulder. "You are talking about a guy who is playing his 100th Test match, so obviously he has won a lot of Test matches for the country. He has been a matchwinner for the country, he has done really well for the country, and everyone knows what he can do as a bowler. So it is very important for captain to give him the confidence, and once that is back I am sure he can deliver the goods for the captain."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Al_Bundy1 on (February 26, 2013, 23:09 GMT)

VVS has lost his mind. Bhajji is not even amongst the top 50 bowlers in India today. It was a travesty that Bhajji was selected in the first place. We have better spinners in Rasool, Dhruv, and Nadeem.

Posted by   on (February 26, 2013, 15:40 GMT)

It's very simple that Bhajji is not bowling well to earn a confidence in Captain's mind. VVS may air his personal opinion but you can't give a bowler a practice session in middle of test match. Any cricket lover can see Bhajji is not the same. It's better to invest money and time in younger players.Right now may be Rasool can be one as a competitor of Jadeja as all rounder and Bhajji can easily loose his place for left armer sitting on the bench.

Posted by   on (February 26, 2013, 13:04 GMT)

Yes I agree with VVS, I think Harbhajan Singh is a much better bowler than R. Ashwin, Harbhajan have more control on the ball than Ashwin. Ofcourse Ashwin have more variety than harbhajan but he dont know how to handle these variety, we already had seen this against England where he rarely bowled off spin as we know he is an off spinner he tried so much variation in that series and became preictable to those batsman who have problem to play spin. If anybody low in confidence then the duty of a captain is bring back his confidence on him too as he is pick up as a frontline bowler not a part timer. If Ashwin is much better bowler than harbhajan then why he took 32 overs to take just 5 wickets, is it a sign of a good bowler, and Ashiwn is 5th fastest bowler to take 75 wickets and his average is over 29. any bowler can take wicket if he have enough overs to bowl. in harbhajn's peak he rarely bowled over 25+ overs to take 5 or more wicket.

Posted by zohair00 on (February 25, 2013, 16:37 GMT)

Good job Dhoni for righting the mistake of selecting Harbhajan. He shouldnt have been selected in the first place, but if Dhoni had persisted with him after seeing how he was bowling, that would have been a second mistake.

Posted by Darkmanx12155 on (February 25, 2013, 15:47 GMT)

@ nyc_missile- R u an Indian mate???? Jadeja and Vijey are future Indian cricket where as bhaji's glorious days are over... Did you at least saw how he bowled the first day???? What ever Dhoni does, He'll do it in the best interest for the team... Dhoni is THE guy who got Indian cricket to this glorious number one position in the world... Respect the guy people... He is the best and He does what is best for team India....

Posted by nyc_missile on (February 24, 2013, 23:54 GMT)

@Dravid_Gravitas thanks sire

Posted by Al_Bundy1 on (February 24, 2013, 22:50 GMT)

We just have to look at how VVS captained Hyderabad team to see how pathetic he was as a captain. He was a great batsman, but as a captain, he falls in Tendulkar category. That's saying something because we all know how Indian team suffered when Tendulkar was the captain.

Posted by   on (February 24, 2013, 19:03 GMT)

Nothing is as easy as it can be to sit on the other side of the desk and criticise. Isn't it? After-all we all know how you led the Hyd team!

Posted by   on (February 24, 2013, 6:04 GMT)

Indian team is slowly becoming another CSK team except the unlucky players like Subramaniam Badrinath & Wriddiman Saha. Time has come to think beyond Dhoni as captain..........

Posted by MadhavY on (February 24, 2013, 5:55 GMT)

I don't understand what's all this sympathy towards harbhajan, everyone saying that he will be completely different once he gets a wicket and everything. So what do we do ask the opposition to start one down? he was absolutely rubbish on day 1. Jadeja got more overs than Harbhajan because he bowled better than him, as simple as that. Accept the facts and stop whining vvs.

Posted by   on (February 24, 2013, 5:47 GMT)

I agree with VVS; the Turbanator has been grossly underutilized. Maybe it is because he does not touch Dhoni's feet like Ashwin does. Bhajji, Dravid, VVS, Irfan, Viru are all guys who blossomed under Ganguly. Dhoni does not want any people from that camp in his side. The chairman of selectors is the owner of Chennai Superkings, and Dhoni is the captain of CSK team?

Posted by   on (February 24, 2013, 5:42 GMT)

This is a sport of professionals. If Harbajan or anybody else is low on confidence, why select them? I can understand this approach for a debutant...but for a bowler with a 100 caps!!! Really Laxman!!!?? What such handling refers to is absolute lack of guts. As a sporting nation we need to stop whining and get on with it. Passengers out should be the policy.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on (February 24, 2013, 5:24 GMT)

Can't agree more with VVS and nyc_missile. Well said both of you.

Posted by   on (February 24, 2013, 5:11 GMT)

Have to disagree with my fav VVS. There have been players in the team who have performed in the past but are presently in the XI solely on reputation. I don't think it is wise to back such ex-players like Bhajji, Sehwag & Sachin. Dada Ganguly stayed on for half a decade only as a captain without any substantial performance with the bat. The team needs in-form players, not reputed non-performers. If past record is the only criteria, bring back Kapil Dev, and VVS & the Wall.

Posted by yoohoo on (February 24, 2013, 4:44 GMT)

@baskar_guha - RD retired because it was time. VVS did not perform in either Eng or Aus, and so they dropped him, and he retired. VVS blames dhoni for his being dropped instead of his own performance, so he is blabbering stuff now.

bhajji was the spinner with whom dhoni opened the bowling, but he did nothing but leak runs. Infact everytime he came to bowl he would release the pressure created by other bowlers. Just see how many runs he gave compared to even jadeja. it is time for us to move on and try other spinners, and forget about bhajji. If he still has talent he should take wickets in domestic and come back through performance.

Posted by Samar_Singh on (February 24, 2013, 4:38 GMT)

Sorry VVS, i have a big respect to you but not the thought you mentioned here. Disagree completely . Bhajji is totally out of form .. Most ppl are even suprised by his selection in the team too. On what basis is Bhajji selelcted? On past glory ? Does anyone gone through Bhajji record of last decade( 2003 till 2013 ) , he averages more than 35 per wicket .. and still he is a strike bowler .. goodness me !!

Posted by   on (February 24, 2013, 4:33 GMT)

Oh my god, bhajji got selected in team in front of inform ohja just because BCCI wanted him playing 100th Test, Did VVS notice that. He got 20 plus overs and more ever he bowled poorly than anyone. Bhajji was talented offi but now he is out of form and VVS has to accept the fact. Dhoni has no role playing here for not using bhajji because he didnt bowl well and when partnership growing who will go for non wicket taking bowler.

Posted by   on (February 24, 2013, 4:18 GMT)

VVS is wrong. In the early stages of the match, Harbhajan bowled many more overs than Jadeja. But he went for runs. He bowled too short, too quick. Took no wickets at all whilst Ashwin took many and he even reduced pressure by giving away runs rather than at least keeping it tight. MSD had no choice but to bring in Jadeja, who was at least accurate and economical.

Posted by AjberTheGangulian on (February 24, 2013, 4:02 GMT)

Wright said Lakhibhai... No excuse for changing Bhaji after getting a wicket. Let him settle, he'll be much better than Aswin who is inconsistent.

Posted by ll_Ajith_ll on (February 24, 2013, 3:59 GMT)

Dont blame MSD for not trusting HB and backing up him. He was introduced well before Ashwin and Jadeja. He conceded more than 3 runs per over, which is much higher than both Ash and Jadeja. Even after giving 25 overs, HB didnt manage to find the rhythem in his over. Then whats the point in trusting him again by giving more?? And his balls where never seems to be a point of concern for the Aus batmen. More he bowls, much difficult to get them out.

Posted by Ms.Cricket on (February 24, 2013, 3:42 GMT)

Laxman was a stylish batman but as a captain he was pathetic himself (e.g. Deccan Chargers who benched captain Laxman after they finished poorly). Harbhajan does not deserve a bowl based on history as Laxman is wrongly saying, certainly Ashwin and Jadeja were bowling better that innings and captin Dhoni was right to use them instead of Harbhajan.

Posted by TRAM on (February 24, 2013, 3:41 GMT)

@NYC_missile, Can you explain how "Dhoni gives confidence to his favorite non-performers Vijay, Jadeja and several undeserving players" ??? Does Dhoni make Jadeja field so brilliantly by giving him confidence? Did Dhoni give confidence to SRT to play well after bad last few series? These are not kids. It is for the players to grab the opportunities. It is called mental strength. For a past successful player of 100 tests, captain of Mumbai IPL team, he does not need anyone else supporting him. Watch Shane Warne, Kumble, Aswhin, when they walk back to their bowling mark. I get a feeling they think hard. They seem to have plans for each batsman. They seem to setup batsmen. On the contrary, I dont see Harbajan bowling to any plan. The sequence of deliveries dont show it. His body language does not show it. The results dont show it.

Posted by MVRMurty on (February 24, 2013, 3:35 GMT)

Well said Laxman, but I am unhappy that you had let the billion fans know about this. I pity the people who still have faith in Dhoni as a test player(forget about captain). FYI to all these fans who are not supporting Bhajji.

Here are a few facts: 1) In the current test players, Bhajji is the highest wicket taker. 2) Bhajji is ignored for almost 18 months now - If a professional is not allowed to do his profession for this long he might leave it as a profession. 3) Dhoni's credentials are no where close to Bhajji's when it comes to test cricket.

Having said these, if India loses this series then probably Dhoni might not represent India for test cricket. He is the most hopeless Indian test captain I have ever seen in my last 30 years.

Posted by   on (February 24, 2013, 3:25 GMT)

Sack Dhoni from ALL formats of CRICKET. Make Kohli or Pujara TEST team captain. Make Gambhir or Kohli as ODI team captain. Make Kohli or Yuvraj T20 team captain.

Posted by ProdigyA on (February 24, 2013, 3:23 GMT)

Not that im a fan of Bhajji but Dhoni will do anything to justify his favourite pal Jadeja's place in the side. Recently concluded ODI's are the best example where he did not let yuvi blow.

Posted by   on (February 24, 2013, 3:13 GMT)

Everyone talks about Dhoni dropping the seniors from the Squad XI, He is doing the right thing. He is preparing the juniors and the future worldcup team for India. He wants to create a new set who can stick together as a team with proper ratio of batsmen, bowlers and all rounders. The senior players already had enough of cricket and are not best performing nowadays. The young and fresh Indian team requires enough experience, collaboration and team understanding in order to prepare for the next world cup. You cannot take a squad where team members are inexperienced and not communicating well within themselves.

MS Dhoni is doing the right thing. Perform or Stay out of the team. For youngsters who has the calibre to show their talent, esp ppl like Jadeja, Dhoni believes to give them more chances so that they can establish their places permanently in the team.

As time progresses, Team, Opposition Strength changes and so do the captains. We cannot compare captains of different years.

Posted by   on (February 24, 2013, 2:53 GMT)

VVS is absolutely right. I have never been a fan of Harbhajan but the way he was handled by MSD yesterday was terrible. Bhajis argument with the umpire over an LBW decision was a sign of his frustyration. If you dont want Bhajji in the team dont select him.But do not humiliate him.

Posted by   on (February 24, 2013, 2:25 GMT)

Laxman has pounced on the wrong topic to criticize Dhoni. It is not use/under use/over use of Harbhajan that needs to be criticized. But, his selection itself at the first place, ahead of Ojha.

But from a completely different perspective and through an almost eccentric angle, it gives me pleasure to know that even in today's highly competetive and thorough proffessional world of international cricket, somebody somewhere still holds the romanticism of allowing a player to complete 100 test matches!!

Posted by NCP1 on (February 24, 2013, 2:19 GMT)

Dhoni has no clue on how to pick up 20 wickets in Tests, he is the worst captain as far as reading the situation and getting the opposition under pressure. It is easy in shorter format as you don't have to bowl a side out. He did the same mistake with Ishant at Lords when he was running through English side after lunch he took him off and the tail enders took England to winning position. You will see the same thing repeating again and again. By now India should have figured out that Dhoni can't win many test matches. We need solid batsman and couple of good bowlers with a thinking captain. He also failed miserably in handling senior players all of them were class act under Ganguly, some of them left but Bhajji and others being young stayed around.

Posted by wake_up_india on (February 24, 2013, 2:02 GMT)

One assumes that Dhoni had some say in the team selection. So, if he chose to have Harbhajan in the team, was it based on his batting skills? I don't think that Harbhajan's performance was so bad that he had to be dumped around tea time. More likely, Harbhjan was foisted on him by someone above him in the multilayered Indian cricket hierarchy and this was his passive-aggessive way of retaliating. Dhoni behaves like a corporate executive and talks like that too. To captain the emerging team, India needs another Saurav or Pataudi -- someone who is passionate, has cricketing intelligence, talks straight and commands the loyalty of the entire team.

Posted by lijov99 on (February 24, 2013, 1:57 GMT)

Thank god Laxman was never made captain.

Posted by   on (February 24, 2013, 1:57 GMT)

Lax i think you are spot on..As an Indian cricket fan it has been difficult to see India lose so many tests. It has been even more difficult to understand Dhonis tactics whether on the field or in selection. We have lost some invaluable gems like you and Dravid to some adrenaline decisions of MS. MS seems uncomfortable with people who stand up for themselves and dont fall in line which is showing with his shoddy treatment of Gambir and Sehwag. Unfortunately this is the Indian Cricket team and not his Chennai Super Kings team...else how else would Jadeja a it's and bits cricketer even qualify to play test cricket? The joy of Test cricket has been its purists and it should remain that way. We watch test cricket to see an Epic 281 or a stunning 300 unfold and not 30 runs ugly runs...We watch it for what our best can come up with.!! And on to the Harbajan issue, a good captain makes a decent player feel extraordinary ..Sorry but MS the one day and T20 captain works but not in Tests.

Posted by Al_Bundy1 on (February 24, 2013, 1:52 GMT)

VVS has lost his mind. No wonder he was never even considered for captaincy!! Bhajji is in the Indian team because BCCI was in mood for charity. Bhajji should not even have been part of the Indian squad. There are much better spinners available in India. Rasool, Saxena, Nadeem, Dhurv - are all better than Bhaji.

Posted by The_impartialobserver on (February 24, 2013, 1:35 GMT)

What a load of rubbish by Laxman. Harbhajan was given 2 good spells on Day 1..and what did he do....He went at close to 4 runs an over, bowled short and wide and down the leg side. On one hand Ashwin was piling pressure and from the other end Harbhajan was leaking runs. So Dhoni had to take Harbhajan off. Jadeja kept his end tight and that helped Ahwin.

Laxman is talking about Dhoni helping Harbhajan to build his confidence. These things were supposed to be done before the test. We don't experiment in International matches. This is not a learning curve for him. Harbhajan has averaged 38+ over the last 7 years. He is well past his prime and should have never been picked.

Posted by cosair on (February 24, 2013, 0:57 GMT)

We do not need arm chair critics like Laxman to be critical of Dhoni. i am even surprised why Harbhajan is even in the side. The bottom line is that he has only 1 wicket to his credit as opposed to Ashwin's 7 and Jadeja's 2. Harbhajan is not the wicket taker like he used to be and he needs to prove himself if he wants more overs. An alaysis should be done after this match and determine who should or should not be in the Test side. One thing is for sure Dharmasena is too inexperienced to be an umpire at this level.

Posted by   on (February 24, 2013, 0:53 GMT)

Okay...I agree with VVS that harbhajan could have been given more chance once he was selected in the team but omg..!!.. where is PRAGYAN OJHA? he was the leading wicket taker against england for india. Does anyone really thinks bhajji deserved the place over ojha. MSD has lost his mind..!! I think favourism in the team for murali vijay and ravindra jadeja is clear....MSD needs to be reminded that he is the captain of team India...not CSK first....! !

Posted by   on (February 24, 2013, 0:51 GMT)

I agree with Laxman about Dhoni's tactics but not with the amount of bowling that he has given Harbhajan! WHy did he select him in the first place? Harbhajan was bowling tripe for most of his 26 overs. Dhoni was right in gving him fewer overs than Jadeja. The selection for this match has been flawed. Ojha was the only spinner who looked like taking wickets in the last England series and he has been dropped so that Harbhajan can play his 100th test match!

Posted by Dhutugemunu on (February 24, 2013, 0:15 GMT)

Dhoni wants his CSK members to be in the team. Ashvin and Jadeja. Not Harbajan who is in MI team. One day Indian Cricket Team will be full of CSK players if Dhoni continues like this. On the other hand he is ignoring some other young talent. We used to see benching some younger players for extended period of time. He is securing his place in the team, by destabilizing others. For an example Shewag and Gambhir who are experienced guys who can replace Dhoni as the captain are finding difficulties to have a place in the team. They may be out of form. Anyway this may be a result of given wrong signals by the captain. Once he talked about slow players in the field.

Posted by arun_cheers on (February 23, 2013, 23:46 GMT)

What is wrong with People ? Why is Laxman being blamed for expressing his view ? He gave good reasons to support his views . Its true that Harbhajan has not performed well.If he was picked as 2nd spinner he should be treated like one.Dhoni doesn't have faith in Bhajji then why did he select him in place of in form Ojha ?.

VVS knows more abt test cricket than Dhoni. He has been a wonderful servant of Indian Cricket.He retired to give youngsters a chance and he is more much than ego's.

VVS and Bhajji won a test for India after following on .When was the last time Dhoni did something like that ?

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 23:20 GMT)

VVS, you were a treat to watch as a batsman. There was a lot of talk that you retired because of MSD, Is this your way of getting back at him? Cant you see how poorly Bhajji was bowling? In fact he came on to bowl ahead of RA, but bowled pathetically

Posted by stuartk319 on (February 23, 2013, 23:15 GMT)

If I were Dhoni I would have done the same. Harbhajan bowled poorly on Day 1. He pitched far too short and was too easy to play. Jadeja at least bowled accurately and gave himself some chance of taking wickets.

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 23:09 GMT)

VVS bhai, when bajji was bowling he was giving away runs easily. While Ashwin was attacking on one side you need another bowler to tighten the screws which bhajji failed to do. He is hardly getting any turn or bounce, vey ineffective. Jaddu can bowl economically holding the batsmen from getting runs. After when bhajji was handled ball, he was ineffective either despite a lower-order scalp.

Posted by viru-319-219 on (February 23, 2013, 23:03 GMT)

@ mayank gupta and all others saying "LAXMAN HAS NOT CAPTAINED INDIA"........ Can you guys please tell me have u at least played for a club before criticizing a very very special batsman who is considered to be one among FAB 5 batsmen for india.Only one guy can be captain of a team and we had Ganguly who was best at it He has been part of team over a decade and he understands international cricket more than any of u. So please if u support dhoni support him dont bark about a guy who gave sleep less nights to world champions and great bowlers of all time.

Posted by Azfar on (February 23, 2013, 22:40 GMT)

Before we discuss on whether Dhoni is underbowling Bhajji, the basic question is what has Bhajji done to deserve a comeback. You cannot pick people based on the fact they did very well against Australia in the past. That 'past' is 5-6 years old. Same with Sehwag. How come he is still in the side when Gambhir has been dropped. Bhajji & Sehwag don't deserve a place in the side based on performance. We are sending the wrong signal to the players who are doing well in domestic cricket. Coming to Bhajji being underbowled, I agree that he was proving expensive with no wickets hence Dhoni was not in a position to persist with him. But Dhoni & selectors had already erred in picking him ahead of Ojha in the side. In the last 2 years a lot of Dhoni's selection decisions just don't make sense.......

Posted by OzWally on (February 23, 2013, 22:11 GMT)

Makes you wonder if it was Dhoni's call to have Bhaji in the team, ahead of Ohja, in the first place. It doesn't appear it was his call and he's now let his feelings be known by preferring Jadeja.

Posted by Sameer9345 on (February 23, 2013, 21:38 GMT)

@ nyc_missile Bhajji has been failing even in the Ranji Trophy. had a very poor domestic season after being dropped from the indian team.

Jadeja had an amazing season with both the bat and the ball. Gambir is out because he average 29 over three long years. Sehwag hasn't scored a test century outside SC for 4 years now and himself is going through a very long bad patch. Long enough to be thrown out along with Gambhir. Pathan is bowling 120 k lolipops now. Every cricket fan worth his salt has been criticising Pathan's bowling and Sreesanth's wayverdness on the internet. When these poor performers are shown the door you call the captain Selfish?

Posted by Mariakutty on (February 23, 2013, 21:16 GMT)

Thank you Laxman for the wonderful innings you played during your best times. However, I also wish to point out that you are one of the worst runner between the wickets and a below average fielder. If Dhoni can spare Laxman for his repeated failures during the end of his career, why can't he give Harbajan a chance to play his 100th test. Be a legend by being quiet and John Wright can train you for that.

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 21:13 GMT)

we all know harbhajan singh is an experince bowler but this thing of dhoni is showing that dhoni does not want him in the team and he wants all his freinds like jadeja and ashwin in the team ,when bhaji took the wicket yesterday ,after that one over he stopped him from bowling that showing dhoni does not wants him in to the team, i think dhoni wants all chenni super kings bowlers in indian team what he is doing now i am total agree with laxman

Posted by nyc_missile on (February 23, 2013, 20:46 GMT)

To the folks saying VVS is backing the wrong horse, well if Dhoni can give confidence to his favorite non-performers Vijay, Jadeja and several undeserving players,why not for a man who has 100 tests ESPECIALLY when you have picked him in the XI. This is precisely the double standards and nepotism in Dhoni I have been highlighting all this while.Backing players on an extended basis is a commendable practice but only if its consistent.You cant just pick players and treat them shabbily just because you feel threatened by them or don't like them.Cases in point- Sreesanth,Irfan,Gambhir & now Sehwag,Bhajji.Hope everyone realizes that behind all the 'cool' demeanor lies a paranoid,suspecting&selfish individual.He is the worst man-manager among all the captains we had.

Posted by SanjivAwesome on (February 23, 2013, 20:38 GMT)

I disagree with Lax. Now I understand the modus operandi of the previous generation of India cricketers like him - that it is okay to have a player based on his historical performance, not current form. Instead you want to create constructive tension in each player's mind - no form, no selection. There is no nood to molly coddle these modern atheletes - they are grown adults who are knowingly doing what they want to do. And getting well paid for it, if i may add. If it gets hot, they have to take the pressure and stay in there. In conclusion, I agree with Dhoni's decision in the field. (I have another post - I disagree with Dhoni's early decision to select Harbhajan in the first place. If Dhoni is the best captain we can find out of 1 billion people, it is indeed pathetic. I am predicting a white wash at home - again - for us.

Posted by Natx on (February 23, 2013, 20:32 GMT)

@baskar_guha, what do you say of dhoni giving the ball to HB first before bringing ashwin or jadeja? Faith or what? Bottom line, he didn't have anything special to deliver beyond 1 wicket in 25 overs. Let's see if he comes good in second on what seems a traditional spinning wicket. Or else I don't see him playing his 101st. As someone else mentioned in the comments, folks like Rasool and Harminder are worth a try than champion tags that are past their prime.

Posted by kevivnajar on (February 23, 2013, 20:15 GMT)

Sorry VVS, you are a terrific player. but I disagree with you on the above comments. Forget about the past, In this match, Bajji had a running economy of above 4. So, any captain who is trying to bowl out the tail will want to reduce the run flow and bowl them out quickly. I'm not a great fan of Dhoni, but for this reason - i'm with him.

Posted by Lellyn on (February 23, 2013, 20:09 GMT)

India needs a captain who will talk to his bowlers like the way Dada was doing...MSD is also getting over burdened with multiple rolls...

Posted by WinNZ on (February 23, 2013, 19:56 GMT)

Both Laxman's and Dravid's comments are surprising to say the least. Individual records should not be a criteria for selection. In any case the Indian Team should move on. It is time for both Sehwag and Harbarjan to go. Flashes of brilliance should not be a consideration for Senior Players past their Prime. The selectors should look at consistent performance. Younger players with proven skills should be given an opportunity to play at the International level and coached for success. It would be sad if India does not excel in cricket which is probably the only game played on an International Level. Selectors and senior players should put the game and country first before friends and personal relationships.

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 19:56 GMT)

Sorry VVS, I beg to disagree. Harbhajan has been averaging almost 40 over the last 3 years, was rightly dropped from the team due to pathetic non-performance, and did nothing whatsoever of note to deserve a recall. He was the first spinner to be introduced, and he not only failed to take wickets, never looked like he would trouble the batsmen, offered too many hit me rubbish, and all his bad habits as a bowler were on display. Dhoni had no other choice but to hide him away. He was a match winner, but he hasn't been performing consistently well for the last 5 years, and Dhoni had given him all the backing through most of it, and well if he continues the same, no way could the captain trust him. And give credit to Ravindra Jadeja, he kept the runs down, and also picked up a couple of wickets.

Posted by baskar_guha on (February 23, 2013, 19:54 GMT)

Indian fans sadly are a fickle lot. Let a bowler take 5w and suddenly they will be the best ever. Let them go for runs, and they will scream about why they are in the team. The point VVS makes is that once you have a bowler picked to play, you get him to bowl at his best - sometimes that means showing faith in him. MSD is very clearly one who backs some and not others based on his hunches and of late he has failed with that strategy. That is what VVS wants MSD to change which is to persist and encourage rather than ignore and discourage. Dont think MSD will change - which is probably why RD and VVS retired -- MSD appears to be a stubborn person on these matters. Unless India win the series handily, I would recommend a different leadership for the test team.

Posted by Natx on (February 23, 2013, 19:51 GMT)

@Dustbowl, it's Aussie smart thinking! The more he bowls the more he gets hit! He is not the HB anymore. I completely agree with @itsthewayuplay. If you can only take 1 wicket out of 25 overs, what's the purpose of giving 10 more? I'm not a fan of jadeja but to be honest he outbowled HB in this match.

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 19:41 GMT)

Harbhajan is an amazing bowler and like everyone else needs to be given a fair opportunity to truly make a comeback in the side. Somehow it seems really sad that some commentator was talking Bhajji down from the moment he cam on to bowl and then as VVS has mentioned, was sparsely used. There is a lot of internal politics that has always played behind the scenes and it seems to be again prominent in this case. It seems to me there is a lobby that wants Harbhajan Singh out of the Indian team and for the past year or so has been working hard at showing him the door. Ashwin might be good but he is no Bhajji and let the truth be told. We can play Rohit Sharma in tests after tests even when he kept failing under the pretext of a talented player and here a manwho has proven his worth over and again and you are trying to negate him. Can't blame Dhoni or that commentator as they are just puppets in the hands of the behind the scene performers. Disappointing!!!

Posted by thedreamer on (February 23, 2013, 19:39 GMT)

So this time its Harbhajan and the anti-CSKs pounce on the topic and start to rant. Tomorrow it'll be someone else and the anti-CSKs would still rant. Hell, if there is a national issue, they'd still say its because of Dhoni and CSK. Sick with people like these. Get a life guys, please! Bhajji never looked like taking a wicket. In fact it was him who came to bowl much before Ashwin and Jadeja in this match. Isn't that confidence for you? And what did he bowl except for darts and short pitch rubbish? Not only he didn't take wickets, he started to leak a lot of runs. The first line of this article itself suggests a point - Bhajji in his spell has given more runs than Jadeja who has bowled more than him. This for a guy playing in his 100th Test. He's experienced enough to find a way for himself, rather than looking for "confidence". I had a lot of respect for Laxman, but seems he's got his own agenda against MSD (remember he didn't invite him home during NZ Test series).

Posted by Al_Bundy1 on (February 23, 2013, 19:39 GMT)

Agree with @Mayank Gupta - No wonder VVS never made captain... he doesn't seem to know much beyond his own batting.

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 19:35 GMT)

Hope VVS had just made a stupid statement and not a one to take a jab at MS for his undue retirement! If you have observed Harbajan had bowled 12 overs before Ashwin or Jadeja and from then on it would be idiotic to continue to bowl Harbajan while he is been thrashed by batsmen who were struggling at the other end. Good neither for Harbajan nor for the team.

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 19:33 GMT)

dhoni won wc 2011 which was odi tests his captaincy defies logic .....he is able to give confidence only to murali, ashwin,jadeja,rohit sharma , even though they are inconsistent and they flatter to deceive.

exlcusion of ojha will harm his confidence as its evident that doni is deliberately trying to fit jadeja in playing 11 . He has not ever found Amit mishra good he was dropped twice after 5 wicket hauls supposedly because he is close to sehwag

Posted by t20-2007 on (February 23, 2013, 19:25 GMT)

Bhajjjii shd have never been picked up for this match...he is totally lost it'the magic'...we have plenty of slow bowlers lik HarBHAJAN...I'm gutted y Ojha is not that this Bhajji can complete his 100 test n by not playing any more save us frm more liability

Posted by Princepurple1979 on (February 23, 2013, 19:16 GMT)

Why should Dhoni persist with Bhajji? He is totally off color and has been like that for the last few years. Plus he was giving away so many runs while the other two spinners were keeping things dry. So one cant really seem the logic in blaming the captain for this! And come one guys, please stop with this Ravindra Jadeja hatred! Just because he was bought for a million dollars in IPL you dont have to criticize his every move! He at least got two wickets, what has the famed Aussie quick bowlers battery got today except pattinson??

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 19:13 GMT)

Dhoni's job is not to raise Harbhajan's confidence but help the team win. Harbhajan has been playing pathetic cricket for a long time now. The mistake Dhoni committed was selecting him in the first place.

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 19:12 GMT)

No wonder VVS never made captain... he couldn't see that it was Dhoni's captaincy that made Ashwin take 7 wickets... Harbhajan is ineffective and short of confidence- it would have made sense wven if Sehwag was bowling ahead of him... Guess VVS just wanted to say smthing different coz he is sitting in the commentary for the first time...

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 19:09 GMT)

I think the fact that he didn't give him many overs has to do with his career average which abysmal. Dhoni knows this horse has been flogged for all it's worth. It's time to look to new stars.

Posted by veramkri on (February 23, 2013, 19:06 GMT)

First of all , Selection of team is completely went wrong. I think Dhoni wants to make Bhajji's 100th test, his last one And his bond with ashwin and jadega is so strong that they are the last players to be dropped irrespective of the need,surface,their form and performance. Secondly I think he is only captain who trusts just pitch more than his fast bowlers(very short spells, no attacking field, spin introduced in 10 mins after the start of the match not considering the state of the ball). Future trend of fast bowling will go to dogs in future. The only quality bowler Ojha is dropped LOL. The Two fast bowlers are picked for nothing .Neither they are trusted by the captain nor given a fair opportunity. If it is so itching for him, he should have made all spinners as frontline bowlers rather than showing that indian fast bowling unit is good for nothing in india. Sorry to say that modern indian fans are just busy in quantitative analysis than thinking of how the game is being played

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 19:05 GMT)

Excuse me Laxman, did you see how Harbhajan bowled? ... Atleast one ball per over he has bowled a short ball, doesn't even flight the ball anymore. The way in which he bowled was very pathetic and you still expect him to bowl more overs. Come on, if he bowls good, why wouldn't Dhoni bowl him more?

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 18:59 GMT)

Even I'm surprised at underutilisation of Bhajji. Let's give benefit of doubt to the captain who won us the world cup. And tell you what Bhajji is MAN enough to take this into his stride, he'll fight whatever overs his get. As a bowler sometimes the luck doesn't go your way.

Posted by itsthewayuplay on (February 23, 2013, 18:58 GMT)

I'm sorry VVS. I was your biggest fans as a player and would always have had you in the team. That Harbajan has even been picked despite his poor form over the last 5-6 years shouold be all confidence boost he needs. When the skipper throws him the ball, then all the talking stops and the time for action begins. The fact is Harbarjan got 25 overs which IMO was 25 overs too many and took 1 wicket and Patterson took 3 in 6 overs.

Posted by DustBowl on (February 23, 2013, 18:49 GMT)

Not only VVS, but the whole of the ex Test commentators, made the same comments about MS's handling of HS - INC Warne and Border !!

Posted by nyc_missile on (February 23, 2013, 18:46 GMT)

Alright someone has had the gumption to bell the cat..thanks VVS.Your mate Dravid was so soft on Dhoni's tactics that I thought ex-players are like this always..thanks for being a refreshing change and speaking your mind despite knowing BCCI morons will be watching you and may act in some form or the other.Remember Amarnath? VVS is 100% spot on in his reading of the captain who is a loser and wants to turn everyone into one..

Posted by crkt4evr on (February 23, 2013, 18:45 GMT)

VVS is right dhoni is harming harbhajan's confidence... even today morning when bhajji looked threatening n got a wicket he was removed instantly who would do that to a bowler whos low on confidence n trying to comeback into team ...i felt dhoni is happy with ashwin n ojha combination but he cant leave out veteran like bhajji when he is in squad this seems the problem....but its not his fault as he is the one who gets blame if team loses hence he should have been consulted about his confidence in bhajji b4 selecting him...result of poor communication n co ordination between selectors n captain

Posted by TRAM on (February 23, 2013, 18:43 GMT)

VVS is very intelligent as I see. By saying "Dhoni should have given him more overs", he has created a hot debate, but what VVS has actually achieved is, he has proven his preceding point that "Harbajan is low on confidence". Look at all readers comments. No one disputes the "Harbajan low on confidence" point. I want to stop right there.

Why is Harbajan low on confidence??? Simple. Non performance for years. We all know that. So, the "years of non-performance and yet being in the team" has been agreed by every one. The end.

Thanks VVS.

Tomorrow VVS is likely to comment "1. Sehwag is low in confidence to open the innings. 2. Yet Dhoni does not move him down the order. Bad captain!". Immediately we fans, would jump to argue for & against Dhoni. But we would accept the basic point Sehwag is low in confidence - thus VVS would prove the point that Sehwag is not performing for long and yet in the team.

Good tactic. Very intelligent.

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 18:41 GMT)

We can talk at any length about MS' tactics regarding Harbhajan's use. Now there was another off spinner operating in the match and he took 7 wickets. Harbhajan, though bowling some overs short, did manage to give away as many runs as the other spinners had given in individually. Now as a captain, I know the best way to get wickets and keep runs dry is to persist with Ashwin and Jadeja, who had done relatively well when compared to Harbhajan, hence the tactic. Yes Harbhajan is a confidence player, but if he does not get a wicket initially, his performance wanes off. The point is, its a known fact, and even Dhoni knows this. Harbhajan was almost undoing the good work done by Ashwin in particular. Hence as a prudent captain, MS underused Harbhajan when compared to Ashwin and Jadeja, and the results are visible. Ashwin+Jadeja=9 wickets vs Harbhajan = 1 wicket. I am not sure why this is not a credible piece of stat to vindicate Dhoni's decision.

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 18:36 GMT)

after reading so many comments the 1 thing all tell me that is vvs selfish???

is dhoni creditable in tests..

he himself does not deserve a test spot.....

no other keeper has been given an equivalent oppurtunity to perform n accept or not ms as a test batsman fails to inspire confidence in himself and others tooo as a captain....

captaincy is abt inspiration n who amongst the senior players have got his backing....

he has had tiffs with rahul,saurav,zak bajji gauti nehra sachin vvs....

results may show him as a gd captain bt more than half of those matches are set up by the above listed players...

when has msd played a captain's knock????

vvs was spot on with his observation....

if sm1 like a bhajji can be given some confidence he can gt u more wickets than ashwin any day...

remember guyz he was playing int ckt after 4 months n it was a bad day fr him bt u dnt treat him the way msd treated himm...

sorry to say msd is the worst captain india's senior players cld hav got

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 18:32 GMT)

Mr Batnpad,

You mentioned bowls like a T20 player, but in fact Dhoni is trying to make the game as T20. He forgot that Bajji has to bowl in 2nd innings, and without his confidence boosted up how does he perform in the 2nd innings. Dhoni has no long term view of the match and just restricted Bajji and made a mockery of bringing jadeja who is a gully player and not a test spinner by any standards. You people are bringing the regional feelings as Dhoni is captaining CSK. Dhoni by any means is not fit as a player and by some one's grace continuing as test captain. VVS is a veteran of all these things and in his entire career he never commented on any one though he got tons of talent. He never complained when he was not selected in any of the world cups. You have to remember that he is a fair gentleman. He isl from the same region where Ojha is playing, and would have supported Ojha in stead of Bajji, but he is not doing that. You should remember that man, before commenting.

Posted by Sussexx on (February 23, 2013, 18:23 GMT)

@ batnpad & grigram I and hopefully those whoever know about cricket in the entire world would totally disagree with your comments that you just made regarding V V S, dhoney and Bhajji. Dhoney is not a supporting captain and he always has a problem with his senior players whether it is Veeru,Lachchu bhai, Dravid or Daada for that matter because he likes to remain a safe and dominant leader of the indian cricket team until he retires one day.

Posted by Mr_Anonymous on (February 23, 2013, 18:22 GMT)

Harbhajan has an excellent record against Australia at home. Unfortunately, there are a few people who are in the team not because of something exceptional they have done lately and more because of their "reputation" for a few match winning performances. Bhajji is trying hard although he is clearly not succeeding currently. I don't think you can blame MSD when Bhajji is not succeeding in his attempts although VVS has a valid point that if Bhajji is not being bowled often then it does seem to imply that MSD has lost some faith in him based on his bowling implying that perhaps Ojha would be a better choice for the next match. Bhajji needs to realize that his career is at a crossroad and only he can steer it in a desirable direction. He has gotten chances to prove himself and has not made the most of them. Bhajji needs to get inspiration from Murali's quote below and rediscover his enjoyment and talent: Wickets will follow.

Posted by on (February 23, 2013, 18:22 GMT)

First a ridiculously over the top article from Rahul dravid , now VVS laxman saying harbhajan should have been given more overs (even though his ordinary bowling suggests otherwise) , people should understand that this is an INTERNATIONAL TEST match for India and not a place for harbhajan to practice his bowling , i don't understand why he was even selected in the first place , poor ojha must be pulling his hair out in frustration !! and yes ofcourse there is wasim jaffer sitting out ,when guys like sehwag keeps failing

Posted by GRVJPR on (February 23, 2013, 18:18 GMT)

Spot on by VVS Laxman. MSD gave harbhajan bowl first then ashwin when the ball was new and it wouldn't have turn. While Ashwin, who was lack lustered vs england and out bowled by swann and panesar was bought in when it was more conducive to spin the ball.

Posted by SatyaGSN on (February 23, 2013, 18:18 GMT)

Day 1 - Bhajji didn't bowl well... Agreed Day 2 - Bhajji is bowling very well and getting back to his rhythm... What is the need to take him off... For me it looks like nothing but politics. Dhoni don't like him to be in the team. Only way for Bhajji is to take wickets in the second innings if Dhoni gives him a chance to bowl.

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 18:05 GMT)

First of all, Harbhajan should NOT have been picked. Once he is picked, he should have been allowed to bowl. Like Laxman rightly pointed out, he would not have played 100 tests if he is not a top class bowler. If he is in, he should be playing. As simple as that.

Harbhajan & Murali Vijay do not make justice to the team selection. But, Dhoni should not show his disappointment this way. As a captain, he has to use to make best use of his players to win matches for the country (irrespective of whether the player being a performer or non-performer now that they've been picked.)

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 17:59 GMT)

VVS shd have been playing now in the XI....instead of Sehwag n Sachin if form n fitness is the criteria for test team body can anyone question his integrity....he was a key part in India becoming test no 1.....never got his due......was a captaincy material for sure......INDIA`s BEST no 6 batsman....he has made right comments....India need Harbhajan to bowl well this series n rise to number to number 2/3 n further to no 1 which shd be the aim...n thats what India shd play for.............

Posted by bnyk on (February 23, 2013, 17:56 GMT)

its not about first and second,the fact of the matter is that donis selection is totally wrong after all how one can ommit ojha who is your leading yes leading wikettaker in series against eng,

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 17:50 GMT)

Dhoni's tactics are never understood. First of all picking up Bajji in front of Ojha itself is a big mistake. by means of doing that he is suppressing the confidence of Ojha. Secondly, if he did allow Bajji to play his 100th test match, he should have allowed him to give more overs to boost up his confidence which is a vital thing, because Bhajji relies more on confidence and if he gets one wicket, he is capable of getting 3 to 4 wickets on the trot. And it also allows him to do better in 2nd innings. Tactical erros Mr. Dhoni and these tactics are killing test cricket in India. VVS's comments are absolutely right, and everyone knows VVS's integrity and he never commented on any one during his rough times too. One has to understand that.

Posted by bnyk on (February 23, 2013, 17:42 GMT)

i must say dhoni time is over,he is not competent to play test match,he's captency lack imagination and courage,is too defensive,rely on bits and pieces player .regarding harbhajan why then dhoni picks harbhjan instead of ojha,and if picked should have been given more support

Posted by batnpad on (February 23, 2013, 17:39 GMT)

@Karthik Addagada: Stop the crap.Harbhajan was the first spinner to get the ball. So MSD did it right. What do you want him to do, when the veteran bowls like a T20. Keep bowling him to get his confidence back and lose the test match ? as VVS is suggesting. If VVS knows lot about test cricket, why was he not chosen as a test captain during his career? Don't mix your regional feelings with logic.

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 17:38 GMT)

Dhoni first of all does not know the nuances of test cricket. If he would have picked up Bhajji in front of Ojha, who is an in-form player, then why don't him give good support and enough no of overs. What Laxman mentioned is absolutely correct, that Bhajji should be given enough confidence and should have given more overs. Otherwise don't pick him up at all if Dhoni lacks confidence in Bhajji. Dhoni, don't play mind games and your tactics should be shown in batting and keeping rather than performing on our own players. Already you brought down the fame of test cricket like any thing.

Posted by The-Cricketer on (February 23, 2013, 17:34 GMT)

Forget about what Laxman said, but I do not understand why Harbajan was removed when he took the wicket and it felt like he was coming back to form.... questionable....

For others who are questioning Laxman, let me know why Ishant was brought back after Harbhajan was removed even after taking the wicket. And if my eyesight is good...then I was seeing the ball spin more than swing... Cheers !!!

P.S: I am still not a gr8 fan of Harbhajan, but my dislike of him doesn't come between my love for a good cricket & nation.

Posted by Kul1 on (February 23, 2013, 17:22 GMT)

Facts are fact that Dhoni under used Bhaji yesterday and this morning. Bhaji playing in his 100th test match needed some encouragement from the captain which he never received. Maybe MS doesn't rate him anymore, if that's the case why select him in the first place. Bhaji has always been a confidence bowler and when he needed a spell to get his rhythm MS let him down.this morning soon after he took a wicket captain took him off which allowed aus to add few more runs to their total fair comments made by vvs laxman

Posted by ashokr on (February 23, 2013, 17:19 GMT)

For all his on-field achievements, I believe Laxman is discounting facts (1. Dhoni giving the first spin opportunity to Bhajji in this match, 2. end of Day-1 figures Eco Rate/wkts/potential) and ends up biased (bringing in personal conflicts with Dhoni) into commenting/reporting..

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 17:17 GMT)

Harbajan singh is living on past glory and its high time he's shown the door.VVS has no right to captain the team sitting in the commentators box.These former players are the bane of Indian cricket...too many channels and they say whatever they like.Wonder why the media gives them space.Espn should be blamed for publishing this so called news!!!!Rididculous and I don't care whether they publish it or not !

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 17:15 GMT)


Do you watch ranji trophy matches? It was dismal performance from harbhajan.

There are lot of youngsters,who performed well in ranji trophy match.

Do you want to select bhaji based on his past performance with aus?

Sachin shown his class in ranji trophy match also. Apart from that there are so many youngsters following him as a role model. He maintained his character in both on & off the field.

When team was selected for this test series, I was disappointed with the selection of harbhajan..!

Equally, I am unhappy with the selection of murali vijay...

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 17:14 GMT)

OMG Jadeja vs Bhajji.I cant even believe it.

Even if jadeja bowls 600 overs he wont get any of the top 6 out.It was wrong to make Bhajji play ahead of Ohja. Bhajji didn't have much first class performances to justify his selection.

Having known this fact Dhoni ,Why was he made to play instead of Ojha.

Harbhajan bowled poorly in the first two spells bu there iis no rule that he will bowl badly again.Today morning harbhajan was getting the ball to spin .After he got a wicket bowl was tossed to Jadeja.He didnt want Bhajji get wickets because this would mean

Looks like Dhoni hates all the players who are in the team from Ganguly's era.Given a chance he would try to remove tendulkar as well.

I can't understand how can people question VVS's intergrity after he has done so much the team ?

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 17:14 GMT)

All of you forget a few points; Dhoni gave Bhajji the new ball first before Ashwin; the reason he continued with Ashwin and Jadeja was because they were consistently bowling better than bhajji Did; and Bhajji never looked convincing despite taking a tailender's wicket; so Why is Dhoni being blamed? and VVS Laxman could have scored some runs and prevented his retirement and avoid venting out his frustrations! All of us compare Dhoni with the regular batsmen who do nothing but get fat ( ex: Sehwag) standing in the slip cordon; Dont we all remember, DHONI is the Keeper and Captain???!!!

Posted by Selfishkar on (February 23, 2013, 17:12 GMT)

VVS wants India to loose this test match? After Ishant, Harbajan was the worst bowler on show.

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 17:07 GMT)

I feel the team selection basically has gone horribly wrong for Dhoni in this match. Ideal selection would have been drop Jadeja and bhuvaneshwar and bring in Ojha and Rahane. I don't know why Dhoni keeps selecting Bhajji. I feel that is why he has to select Jadeja because if Bhajji bowls like he does he needs a back-up. And coming to Laxman,i think Dhoni know better from behind the stumps than all of us sitting outside the ground.Also,Harbhajan was given the ball ahead of Ashwin and he has bowled 18% of the overs bowled by 5 bowlers. So, that is a decent share. I cannot fathom how a captain is responsible if a bowler cannot make an impact in his quota. it would be better if Laxman explains quantitatively, like how many edges did he get more than Jadeja, how many maidens he bowled more than Jadeja, something like that to substantiate his claim.

Posted by ManagerDhoni on (February 23, 2013, 17:04 GMT)

VVS becomes too sentimental sometimes. Bhajji will be thankful to Selectors n Dhoni (For announcing one day before on his 100th test that he will be playing in XI). As said by FAB_ALI Bhajji was first one to get the ball, which shows captain have confidence in him. Dhoni will do injustice if he does not give ball to in-orm Ashwin (infact fabulous decision taken by Dhoni to remove Bhajji n give to Ashwin who looked more threatening from his first ball). Other commentators wud also have jumped on Dhoni, if that move not fetched immediate wicket. I am sure VVS will learn from this premature commenting, I give him benefit of doubt since he is new to commentary.

Posted by bipulkumar on (February 23, 2013, 17:03 GMT)

Initially Ashwin and Bhajji were bowling in tandem. Ashwin was taking wickets and Bhajji was releasing pressure. It's an utterly nonsense assessment from Laxman. Ojha will be far better choice over Bhajji in the next match.

Posted by ROXSPORT on (February 23, 2013, 17:03 GMT)

Harbhajan got a bowl ahead of the two other spinners in the side. If this is not an expression of confidence, what is??? On the other hand, what did Bhajji do to endorse that confidence -- give boundary balls every over ??? You can only support one so much & no more. Harbhajan should count himself extremely happy to be even playing this test. IMO, he has played 20 Tests too many.

Posted by sensible-indian-fan on (February 23, 2013, 16:58 GMT)

@ssruprai - "People who have never held a bat in their life should not comment on what VVS has said." Whattey comment. Whattey conclusion. Keep it up mate. It is this attitude that has reduced us to become such a rubbish test team. Too much star worship. Just because VVS was a great batsman doesn't mean all his views are right.

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 16:57 GMT)

I want Harbhajan and Ishant to succeed. However, I find it difficult to complain of "not getting enough chances" or "not getting enough overs" after the number of chances and overs they have got. Harbhajan bowled 25 overs for 1 wicket. Ishant bowled 17 overs for no wickets.

Why Harbhajan and Ishnat hasn't been getting wickets? I don't know. It is "natural" for a captain (or any human) to start losing confidence after seeing someone fail repeatedly.

Test matches are not the place to "gain confidence" or to "gain rhythm" . That is the role of practice and the first class matches. Also, if 25 overs aren't enough to gain confidence; how many are - 50?

The question that puzzles me is why Pattinson bowled only 6 overs in spite of claiming all three wickets?

I would like both Harbhajan and Ishant to succeed. However, considering what kind of results they have delivered lately; I wouldn't fault Dhoni.

Posted by agarkarno1 on (February 23, 2013, 16:51 GMT)

Dhoni's move to not use Harbhajan after he got the wicket of Siddle was his message to Harbhajan that his job is to take top order wickets but not tailenders. Yes if Harbhajan had got another wicket it would have given him more confidence to bowl in the second innings. Now its clear that Dhoni is not impressed with Bhajji's performance in the initial overs he bowled and he doesnt want him to be part of the series later. I wont be surprised if Dhoni doesnt use Bhajji at all or if he use him after Australia lost seven or eight wickets already in the second innings.

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 16:51 GMT)

If Bhajji is low on confidence as VVS said, then why is he playing in XI. Go back to ranji, work on your basics, gain the confidence and be back to perform.. and same applies to everyone...

Reason for using Jadeja is for his "left arm spin", not the reason that he is better than Bhajji. But the stats say that jadeja was better than Bhajji in the end of the innings

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 16:43 GMT)

think there is lot more test cricket still left in Bhajji and if you are not giving enough chance to your players too prove them self than that sends out wrong signal. We have seen Dhoni is leaned towards giving opportunities to the players which are coming from small states that is good thing to do but not on the cost of better players.

Posted by Rahulbose on (February 23, 2013, 16:42 GMT)

Dhoni treated Bhaji with disrespect, obviously doesn't want him to cause problems for his other CSK mates. Jadeja is a joke as a test match spinner, Sehwag bowls betters than him so does Tendulkar.

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 16:38 GMT)

Mr. Special You are absolutely correct, But why MSD is not thinking about that. As a viewer i thought about baaji confidence level. In my personal view only one man can do for baaji that is MSD. i saw his bowling last two days, i think he bowled much better than yesterday. i hope he will be in right track ... God is great...........

Posted by mathewjohn2176 on (February 23, 2013, 16:37 GMT)

Posted by ssruprai on (February 23, 2013, 15:33 GMT),Everyone knows cricket is a game of uncertainties and to know this,I don't need to hold a bat ." People who never held a bat should not comment on VVS" !so why are you commenting on dhoni captaincy and criticising people who disagree with laxman? If dhoni don't have confidence on harbhajan,why did he choose him to bowl the first over among other spinners? He tried him first,but bhajji was leaking runs and there is no use continuing with him.It could have been so much better if india played Ojha in place of harbhajan.Afteralll dhoni wanted to contain the Aussie batsmen in the morning and restrict to some achievable target.By looking at harbhajan yesterday performances, no captain will have confidence to use him more.25 overs is so much for a bowler to show his skills who is playing his 100 test match and he failed .Anyway you are just trying to defend laxman here by all means dhoni bashing and nothing more.I am out of it.

Posted by Chetan007 on (February 23, 2013, 16:33 GMT)

It's very sad that Laxman is saying this. He understands much more cricket than we do. Harbhajjan was bowling very bad before Dhoni bring Jadeja in. He showed confidence in Harbhajjan by bring him at first change. If Harbhajjan showed some glimpse of taking wickets he would have given him more overs but he didn't. Dhoni has done nothing wrong to be blamed. Yes, he put country before Harbhajjan. I can say that Dhoni was wrong in selecting Murli Vijay. But I find many reasons to select him than to drop him out.

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 16:32 GMT)

How do you expect the captain to give more overs to a bowler who is neither taking wickets, nor keeping the runs down ? Dhoni can't sacrifice a test match just to give some confidence to Harbhajan Singh. He got more overs than what he deserved. Lets not forget that Harbhajan is in team just because of lack of other better options. Not because he has fought his position back by performing in domestic cricket. Laxman seems to have a soft corner for a former teammate. Guess this is one place where VVS is inexperienced. Has has to learn to analyze objectively.

Posted by philipsmgp on (February 23, 2013, 16:29 GMT)

its really funny to see csk haters particularly ashwin haters trying to justify harbhajan.He bowled well in the 2nd day against does that means he is no longer a threat to the top order.if so why the hell do you need him. its not necessary to be a great player to understand cricket.its not rocket science. even small kids kow abt cricket a lot.its just that laxman is spilling venom. his job is to commentate about whats going on in the game not to show his brilliance by criticising.and well so many haters for CSK for no reason. There was a time when 7 palyers from karnataka played a ODI in bangalore when gundappa vishwanath was the selector.One guy who made the debut was sujith somasundar.who the hell was he????

Posted by iamcd_pati on (February 23, 2013, 16:29 GMT)

this is the problem with these so called "experts". It is clear that laxman was kicked out of the team due to poor performance. Had Dhoni not been interested in Bhajji he would have never picked him in the team in place of Ojha. These are just stupid comments made by laxman which is sad. its better if he shuts up and give constructive suggestions. as if bhajji did smthng great in those 20 odd overs?. what rubbish

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 16:25 GMT)

in 25 overs he picked up one wicket so u want to give him 125 overs to get 5wickets

Posted by KathikTup on (February 23, 2013, 16:23 GMT)

One sud agree wot Laxman is saying abt MSD under utilising Bhajji. If u as a captain felt dis bowler is not good enough to play at dis level, first of al u sudn't ve picked him in the squad. Even after including some1 in the squad, still if u would ve felt he is not enough, den u sudn't ve picked him in d playing 11. But MSD did include Bhajji which indicates dat he felt bhajji ill b effective (ofcourse he is, after al being der for 100 tests). For any1 who is making a come back, it ill take some time to settle down. & in bhajji's case it's a milestone test. So, MSD sud've been patient with him & cud ve given him more overs on day 2, so dat Bhajji cud've bagged atleast 1 more wicket which wud've added to his confidence. Anyways, lets al salute Bhajji for his achievements & contributions dat he is making to indian cricket :)

Posted by VickGower on (February 23, 2013, 16:19 GMT)

Sorry, VVS, you are basing your opinion on nostalgia, not logic. Dhoni's aim is to somehow win the test match, not to somehow get Bhajji into form. Bhajji did not get into the test team on the back of his performances, that is his problem. If Dhoni made a mistake it was in picking Bhajji.

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 16:18 GMT)

"You should know which bowler the batsman will not be comfortable facing. That's going to be the spinners of the Indian team."

There you go. You answered yourself, VVS.

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 16:17 GMT)

Seriously are you guys even watching what the scoreboard says... Jadeja the second most bowled has an economy of 1.97 from 36 overs, Bhajji has 3.48 from 25 overs. Who will you ask to bowl? I guess VVS is still pissed off with Dhoni for something. Guys you can either ask Dhoni to win the match or tell him what to do? Dont expect him to listen to others and still expect to win the match. Let him do what he thinks the best. We can talk after the end of the match. Having said that, Mr. VVS, if someone is low on confidence then test match is not the place for getting back the confidense. He can play in Ranji.

Posted by jsnaurvi on (February 23, 2013, 16:09 GMT)

@ usernames.. I totally agree with you... Bhajji got a backing of Vickram Rathour (Selector).. other wise please look his domestic record this year for Punjab.. He only plays domestic cricket when selection for India team is around the corner other wise he is injured... If you guys don't believe please check the Ranji Trophy from cricinfo. If he is not playing domestic then where from he will get rhythm and confidence.. Yes he had played lot of matches but we cannot count his last performance and select him for next 100 matches if this is criteria then why you guys are against Sachin; he also performed better in last 400-500 matches but atleast sachin went to domestic and perform. And more over if past performance is the criteria for selection then select Hirvani he has taken 16 wickets against WI in his first match, Sunil Joshi he has taken 6 wickets in one match and so on... So be realistic this guy is able to take only tailenders wickets but at a moment he is uncapable of that too

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 16:05 GMT)

MR sooraj iyer.

VVS knows better than MSD what to do in test cricket. Bhajji and VVS delivered of the greatest victories when Captain cool did not even sport in an Indian jersey.

Form is temporary ,Class is permanent.Sachin proved it ,It will not be any different with Bhajji. We fielded Sachin for an year during his lean,why not the same be given to Harbhajan. Anyway if MSD did not have faith in Bhajji he should not have been selected that too ahead of Ojha ?.

It is wrong to question VVS .He has praised Dhoni when needed and has been tough when he was making mistakes ?

Please stop fielding Dhoni because he is CSK's captain.

Posted by 777aditya on (February 23, 2013, 16:01 GMT)

It is common knowledge that Dhoni dished out the same kind of treatment to Laxman and Ganguly not so long ago, almost forcing them into retirement. So, Laxman speaking in Bhajji's favor has another dimension to it. The "I Hate Dhoni" brigade will have plenty to munch on in light of these comments - the timing of the comments could have been more appropriate as if Bhajji does not take wickets in the second innings by the bagful, he is a goner! Dhoni is a wily fox - he plays such mind games only to keep out the 'seniors' he does not feel fit to be in the team.

Posted by Al_Bundy1 on (February 23, 2013, 15:58 GMT)

Agree with @usernames - It's clear Bhajji was picked just so that he could play his 100th match, and yet, people are backing a diplomatic statement from an ex-cricketer, a statement without any merit?

Parvez Rasool is a much better off spinner than Bhajji in recently concluded Ranji Trophy, yet Bhajji was picked in the Indian team. It's the job of Indian Selectors to select 14 best cricketers from India, yet they selected Bhajji over Rasool.

Posted by Thilakraju on (February 23, 2013, 15:58 GMT)

Hey Guys, please stop criticized about CSK , dhoni never picked a player with bad perfomance in last 10 matches, except some senior players . first of all even you playing after 2 years you have to play with full of confident and you must show up your knowledge and experince in few games. yuvi is a perfect example for this. dhoni give a chances to harbajan on Eng Test and he didn't perform well. for me indian cricket going in right way after dhoni's captency. but laxman want to play right now with Kumble, srinath under Dravid's captancy.

Posted by TRAM on (February 23, 2013, 15:58 GMT)

VVS makes it sound as if because Dhoni did not give enough overs to Harbajan, India didn't get wkts sooner!! Absolutely not. It is the other way. Because Harbajan bowled very badly Dhoni didn't give him more overs. At least if Harbajan had showed "some signs" you can blame that on Dhoni. Did Harbajan beat the bat ONCE?? Should Dhoni teach the Harbajan the line and length to bowl?? While Ashwin and even Jadeja were bowling well, this expert Harbajan bowled horribly bad, at least 2 very short deliveries and wide off stump or on the pads.. Captains job is to WIN the match. Not be a psychologist and treat players minds at the cost of winning the match.

Posted by RISHI2016 on (February 23, 2013, 15:57 GMT)

nothing new what dhoni is doing ...last time bhajji played ojha and ashwin bowled 80 over together and bhajji was given 21 overs where he took 2 wickets... ashwin had gone for 160 plus runs for his 3 wickets.. result bhajji out from next match... ashwin bowled good as could learn from his mistakes but he was allowed to bowl.. and when people talk of domestic performance what great has ashwin has donebut playing directly in test matches and learning... if we wanna play ashwin play him as an allrounder...

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 15:55 GMT)

What is wrong with People ? Why is Laxman being blamed for expressing his view ? He gave good reasons to support his views . Its true that Harbhajan has not performed well.If he was picked as 2nd spinner he should be treated like one.Dhoni doesn't have faith in Bhajji then why did he select him in place of in form Ojha ?.

VVS knows more abt test cricket than Dhoni. He has been a wonderful servant of Indian Cricket.He retired to give youngsters a chance and he is more much than ego's.

VVS and Bhajji won a test for India after following on .When was the last time Dhoni did something like that ?

Posted by FAB_ALI on (February 23, 2013, 15:55 GMT)

Harbhajan was the first spinner to get a bowl in Australian innings.... I dont think you can show anymore confidence than that. but since he did not bowl well, Dhoni had to bowl jadeja more who was atleast troubling the batsmen if not getting them out.

Posted by binu.emiliya on (February 23, 2013, 15:55 GMT)

If any thing happens in the indian team now a days it is fasion to blame Dhoni for all that Like some people blaiming IPL for what ever happens in Indian Cricket

Posted by Narbavi on (February 23, 2013, 15:54 GMT)

I cannot how people think in some bizarre fashions and bring CSK in here, what does it have to do with the ipl? Obviously harbhajan hasn't been bowling well, he shouldn't have been picked ahead of Ojha in the first place

Posted by ssruprai on (February 23, 2013, 15:53 GMT)

@Nampally, Sir thanks for the good laugh about 2 centuries. You heard about Jiwanjot. Right? If it was about 2 centuries in Ranji then he should have been opening in this test match rather than Murli Vijay or anyone else.

@Niranjan Malneedi, you are absolutely right about close in fielders and all. I remember even Ashwin was bowling without any silly mid off. Enough of this captain.

soorajiyer. Sir you too are absolutely right. Its politics going on here.

People tell me here that I should not talk about armchair experts but then the thing is I just cannot help it. People who have never held a bat in their life should not comment on what VVS has said.

Posted by Narbavi on (February 23, 2013, 15:53 GMT)

@Rohit Srivastava : Another pointless needless dhoni bashing right there, ashwin picked 6 top wickets in the first place, harbhajan picked one tail ender, enough said

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 15:49 GMT)

If dhoni didnt like bhaji he wouldnt have picked him up in playing 11... Dhoni 1st gave ball to Bhajan next oly to ashwin . Bhaji bowled around 25 overss.... Dont blame dhoni always bhaji never troubled aussies in this match

Posted by xylo on (February 23, 2013, 15:46 GMT)

Harbhajan was selected in this match only for his personal milestone. Normal service with Ojha will resume in the next match. Please don't lose sleep over it.

Posted by ccrriicc on (February 23, 2013, 15:43 GMT)

Please get rid of Dhoni as the captain. His presence in the team will detroy whtever little confidence these players have. Why remove Harbajan after he takes a wicket?

Posted by wolf777 on (February 23, 2013, 15:42 GMT)

I think memories of those too many tests when Harbhajan went for 150 plus for one or two wickets are still fresh for Dhoni…

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 15:42 GMT)

First people are telling that bhajji got selected instead of ojha because of dhoni favouritism, and the same people come back to say, bhajji is not used for more overs because of favouritism, and then people will now start telling that bhajji is not bowling well, not taking wickets, because of dhoni, because dhoni didnt teach bhajji how to bowl, ha ha ha what a joke, lol, I had a lot of respect for laxman, but seeing this comment from him, its fading, but one thing I get to know from this incident, dhoni is the employee of the top most pressurised job in india, poor dhoni, I dont know how he relieves his stress

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 15:39 GMT)

hormony 111 what u have writen is an unnesseary words.confidence never comes from records,as bajji is playing his 100 test in the scence confidence will be 100%,how can u juge that.two great player have spoken on bajji(dravid,lakshman)rhey too supported bajji.and mostly dhoni is unfit for cap for test.when bajji bowls u need to keep attaking fieldin but he never thought of that.many profisinals like nasir hussain have told this in englad twst match.really bajji was not supported by dhoni.and most over trusting in the scence not pickinging him in the team,u should support him with his ideas.what vvs said is correct

Posted by soorajiyer on (February 23, 2013, 15:39 GMT)

Is the captains job to win the game or to keep protecting non performing players? I dont understand if VVS was really at the stadium and watching the match like us.. We were completely frustrated looking at the way he bowled to say the least. If a guy after playing 100 tests looks externally for inspiration, I think what would do the rest of the team member who have played less than 10-20 tests do?

I have the world of respect for you VVS, but please dont look for an excuse VVS - Bhajji was pathetic and was outbowled by Jadeja by country miles. Bhajji shouldnt have been selected in the first place.. OJha in present form was far better...

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 15:35 GMT)

i could understand dhoni not giving the ball to bhajji on frst day as bhajji was nt bowling well... bt tdy , on the 2nd day, bhajji was bowling really well..and when he picked up a wicket , dhoni pulled back bhajji frm attack..seems like dhoni has already made up his mind that he dont want bhajji in the team and he want to pick ojha in the next game....for that bhajji shudnt get wickets... i know this opinion of mine seems stupid...but no other reason is coming to my mind fr that..

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 15:33 GMT)

It is a trend. Dhoni often brings back Ashwin to clear the tail and add wickets to his tally.

Posted by ssruprai on (February 23, 2013, 15:33 GMT)

mathewjohn2176 Sir. If you have played cricket at any level then you would realize that cricket is a game of uncertainties. If he had not done well in his previous overs that doesn't mean that he would not do well in next few overs or vice versa. And you said he went wicketless shows that you have not even read the scorecard. Even if it is one tailender wicket it just proves that you are just writing for the sake of it. And you don't even know that, that tailender lasted for 90 plus balls i.e. 15 overs alone.

And btw, I don't care about how many agree or disagree with what I write.

Posted by Nampally on (February 23, 2013, 15:31 GMT)

@ssruprai: My comment re: selection criteria required is Current Form, performance & Fitness applies uniformly down the board to all. The Indian Selectors should embrace this criteria instead of Politicing.Tendulkar is equally required to prove this. FYI, he has 2 Ranji Trophy centuries in his only 2 matches that he played. So he is top form, he is Fit & is performing at the Ranji level. Besides he is also a Legend who can produce at any stage. No wonder he is the top scorer.Harbhajan has no performance at the Ranji level or at any other level in the past 2 years. How does he walk into the XI, let alone in the squad? I had rated 2 batsmen in this team as having the best technique + sound defence. They are SRT & Pujara. I was sad to see pujara gave away his wkt. to Pattinson - Bowled. That I did not expect. Pujara is like Clarke - never gives away his wkt. to any bowler. So I expected a century from him to counter that of Claeke.

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 15:24 GMT)

VVS has right pointed out the flaws in Dhoni's captaincy.His selection of playing 11 is pathetic to say the least. Harbhajan didn't bowl well because he came into the game low on confidence and it happens to any player trying to make a comeback. Harbhajan was leaking runs because he was trying to take wickets unlike jadeja who was content with disciplinary lines.Bhajji was bowling well one the 2nd day but Dhoni put him off.Look at Clarke ,though Lyon was getting Milked for runs he didnt lose faith in his young spinner. Anyway if he didn't have confidence in Bhajji he should gone with OHja.What was the point in selecting him. Really does the Indian captain know how to tackle the situation ?.He was clueless against England and Australia overseas tours.We have seen how well he tackled the situation during the home series against england.

VVS is always a true gentleman. Atleast he had guts to point out Dhoni 's mistakes.

Posted by Venkatinusa on (February 23, 2013, 15:24 GMT)

We need to understand cricket game is a team work. Every individual has an unique role (batting/fielding) to play for the game. I understand he leaked some runs in first and second session om day 1. But we also need to know that test cricket is based on session, each players has his own up and down time, and they have time to recover. we need to give option for recognized bowlers else we are killing their moment of the player. If that the case, you shouldn't pick a player just for fielding.

Posted by rajattiwaari on (February 23, 2013, 15:22 GMT)

Dhoni should have bowled harbhajan more?? Not at all,sir. Harbhajan bowled as as badly as he could have in whatever numbers of overs he bowled.Even Jadeja bowled better than him. And lets's not forget bhajji is not in the team coz he is in good form but because he has"good track record against aussies". Ojha is really unlucky to be left out.harbhajan was dropped due to his inability to take wickets ,he went to domestic cricket,he failed to make an impact there and guess what ,he is in the team again. Pathetic selection and even more pathetic bowling. They are destroying Ojha's confidence who clearly was the best Indian spinner against ENG.

Posted by Such4life on (February 23, 2013, 15:16 GMT)

I totally agree with Laxman. Not letting Harbhajan to bowl the second morning for such a long time was not right on Dhoni's part. If he had chosen Harbhajan in the playing 11 as a specialist spinner, then he should treat him as one. And as soon as Harbhajan picked up his first wicket and looks like getting his rhythm, he was removed quickly, which does not make any sense. I do not know what politics is Dhoni playing in the team. He seems too bull headed at times!

Posted by ssruprai on (February 23, 2013, 15:15 GMT)

@cricinfo, Why don't you have a poll here about every article. So that we know how many agree/disagree with a certain comment/article? It shouldn't be hard to do it. It'll be very good addition. On this article, I AGREE with Laxman 100%

Posted by ChouhanG on (February 23, 2013, 15:10 GMT)

There was a time long ago when MSD was playing for Country but now seems like his National team is CSK. Legends like Dravid n VVS if they felt something wrong than may b there is something wrong nobody from us played that level so it is very easy for us to criticize anyone .

Posted by USIndianFan on (February 23, 2013, 15:09 GMT)

@Nampally, Harbhajan seemed to do better on the 2nd day. I tend to agree with Laxman, Harbhajan should have been given an extended spell once he took a wicket.

Posted by ThatsJustCricket on (February 23, 2013, 15:09 GMT)

Actually, this is quite bizarre. Based on form over the last few tests, Ojha is arguable the best spinner and he was left out to play Harbhajan. Now Harbhajan is hardly getting a spell and even Jadeja is getting to bowl more than him. Why select Bhajji at the cost of your best spinner when you don't even have enough confidence in him? It hardly makes any sense.

Posted by procric on (February 23, 2013, 15:07 GMT)

VVS is right. This man Dhoni is spoiling Indian cricket. It is no more Indian team. This is CSK. Remove Dhoni from Indian cricket team as soon as possible. He has done enough and thanks him very much. Now get him out of the team.

Posted by cricconnossieur on (February 23, 2013, 15:07 GMT)

So MrNampally or whatever thinks he is more knowledgeable than the Dravids and Laxmans ??!! Its the 20-20 age-short memories, small brains ! Remind Harmony that Bhajji did more than all those names he mentioned in his first 15 tests ...phew !

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 15:05 GMT)

I am a big fan of Bhajji for his fighting spirit but I am afraid he has not performed well at any level (Domestic/International) in recent past. "Horses for courses' logic secured place for him against aussies but he is proving that out of form horses cannot perform well even on their favorite courses. I hope either Ojha or some new spinner like saxena or rasool is given chance in the remaining matches. and will someone please let me know when UMESH YADAV will be back in the team????

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 15:05 GMT)

If harbhajan was low on confidence he shouldn't have been in the 15 member squad

Posted by mathewjohn2176 on (February 23, 2013, 15:03 GMT)

Posted by ssruprai on (February 23, 2013, 13:55 GMT), I am not an astrologer but his economic rates says so that he bowled worst among other spinners by bowling short and wide.There is no reason why anyone want him to bowl more overs .Dhoni started with bhajji first after 5 overs of play but he bowled poorly as warner and Cowan were going after him comfortably.He selected as main spinner in place of talented Ojha but went wicket less in his 100th test match.By contradicting your statsments,you acting like an astrologer to say that he would have bowled Aussies early,but his performance on the field doesn't say so.Only one thing can make up from your post ie mindless dhoni bashing and love for laxman.I am a fan of Laxman but he is wrong here .Yes,laxman is a better test batsmen and dhoni is a better captain than laxman.By reading the comments below,I can only see many disagree with laxman.So cheers ,carry on.

Posted by Unmesh_cric on (February 23, 2013, 14:55 GMT)

Anybody who watched the second day's play would have noticed that Bhajji was bowling really well. He didn't bowl well on the first day, but on the second day he was looking threatening. He produced an edge from Michael Clarke too..but was unlucky not to get his wicket. The strange thing was when Bhajji took a wicket and had his tail up, Dhoni removed him. After getting the wicket, Bhajji also had a huge appeal against Lyon which was pretty close. But what happens next? Bhajji is removed from bowling and Ashwin replaces him. The last pair then hangs around for more than half an hour.

Posted by truthhurts on (February 23, 2013, 14:53 GMT)

well those who criticize bhajji hats off to you and your brains, bhajji i believe is one of the best cricketers i have ever seen, he should be encouraged to ball more overs and get his rhythm like how Dhoni does with his favourites - regardless of them performing in 1 match out of the ten played.. , and test cricket is all about more oppurtunities, I for one believe another ten over spell would have given him atleast another couple of wickets, and not letting him ball for almost a day.....well thats not how you utilise your key players.

Posted by phunny_game on (February 23, 2013, 14:50 GMT)

VVS shouldnt criticise dhoni openly like this, it was a strategically planned move and no grudge decision... Firstly, Ojha is the first choice spinner, certainly better than the three playing in this match... Harbhajan has only been selected because of his record against aussies and because of the three left handers in the australian top order.

Once the three were dismissed, and the time after tea that VVS is talking about, even Matt Wade had been dismissed, there had to be the left arm spinner jadeja to bowl from one end because of two right handers.

And obviously you would want your wicket taking bowler to bowl from the other end. Not someone because he is low on confidence. I am sure he will get his chance in the 2nd innings...

Posted by SamRoy on (February 23, 2013, 14:47 GMT)

Matter of fact remains that the last 3 test wickets taken by Harbhajan (in his last 2 tests) are all tailenders. In fact since 2009 in NZ and except vs SA in SA (where there was turn and bounce), most of his wickets are tailenders. Zaheer was cleaning up the top-order Bhajji was remaining in the team on account of lower order wickets. It's the truth. Harbhajan is a lucky chap to have played 100 tests for India. He was world class between 2001 and 2007. But since Kumble's retirement and the advent of IPL, he has slowly become an average bowler.

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 14:46 GMT)

I completely agree with Laxman.. If you play Bajji in the final XI, should be used as attacking and a prime spinner else don't take him to the team. If Dhoni doesn't have confidence on Bajji the y he selected a head of ohja? Given sehwag is out of form and Dhoni himself is not a good test batsman and Vijay relatively new to test cricket, how he selected jadeja who is mostly tailender ahead of Rahane? strange tactics by Dhoni...

Posted by ssruprai on (February 23, 2013, 14:44 GMT)

@Nampally, if you what you said is right about current form then Tendulkar should have retired based on his recent performances. But just look at the scorecard and you'll realize who is the top scorer in this inning at the moment.

Posted by RajeshNaik on (February 23, 2013, 14:44 GMT)

I was watching it live when VVS was criticising Dhoni on Harbhajan. I was dumbfounded. There was no logic in whatever VVS was saying. There are lots of things to criticise Dhoni on. But certainly not on this issue. It was good that Harbhajan was not used, as he was leaking runs. But of course, Dhoni can be held gullible for selecting Harbhajan in the XI. May be VVS was just getting back at MS for his hasty retirement from test cricket!

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 14:42 GMT)

Looks like Dhoni does not endorse Harbhajan's selection.

Posted by cnksnk on (February 23, 2013, 14:40 GMT)

VVS is a great cricketer but his judgement seems to be coloured based on his relationship with Dhoni - remember Dhoni not being available to take VVS's calls and he in turn not inviting Dhoni to his house for dinner. Bajji was probably chosen in the team and then in the 11 more on his reputation against the Aussies then on form in any level of cricket - Ranji / Irani trophy etc. Dhoni brought Bajji on as the first change bowler in I think over number 5 or 6. If this is not an expression of confidence what is. The fact is that Bajji bowled badly. 25 overs @ 3. 5 for a leading bowler is clearly poor bowling. We can be charitable to Bajji by saying that he had a bad day. But seriously VVS, you are well respected by what you achieved on the filed. Do not spoil it with comments from coloured glasses.

Posted by philipsmgp on (February 23, 2013, 14:38 GMT)

i personally respect laxman a lot... but i really guess his observation was wrong (maybe his personal issue with dhoni). Harbhajan is not a new comer. he himself has to fight out his battle. A bowler playing in his 100th test and doesnt know how to bowl to inexperienced aussies.never once did he trouble the aussies yesterday.he was bowling too quick,without any flight and too short on most ocassions.He was leaking too many runs from his side compared to jadeja who kept things tight most of the time. forget dhoni would Laxman if captain would keep on bowling bhaji even if he kepps leaking runsore runs.Where the hell does CSK come in here.Ok agreed but it was the CSK bowlers who took most of the wicket.its a shame Laxman is criticism is a personal thing but nothing else.its just that CSK haters are looking for some reason to support bhajis failure.Laxman has provided it.

Posted by binu.emiliya on (February 23, 2013, 14:38 GMT)

Bhaji was expensive and Dhoni want to restric runs Harbhajan is giving atleast one boundary ball in every over Jadeja was bowling tight and he got two wickets also So laxman's comment is not valid Laxman is my fav player but in this statement i can not agree

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 14:37 GMT)

Laxman, generally dubbed as a 'gentleman cricketer', has begun to show his negative side. Whatever happened between him and Dhoni should be kept aside and should never surface when you offer comments on a match. The Indian captain knows best how to tackle the match situation. 25 overs are not small numbers and the runs he has conceded as well as the manner Harbhajan has bowled do not inspire confidence. VVS needs to be balanced in speaking as well.

Posted by Harmony111 on (February 23, 2013, 14:31 GMT)

This really is a poor statement from VVS. Bhajji got 25 overs. How much more does he need to bowl to get back in rhythm? And he should already have been in rhythm. Do you see match overs as practice overs? And what's this talk of Bhajji being low on confidence? He ha splayed 99 tests and he still needs someone else for confidence? Same is true for Ishant, he too hasn't matured and still needs Zak for help. Look at Patt, Look at Henriques, Look what Faf did in Aus in 2nd test. These players are newbies and yet performed in away situations. And Bhajji can't pick more than 1 tail ender on a spin friendly pitch in home? What is he good for then?

For anyone who does not see this, MSD took off Bhajji cos he never looked like picking wickets. Bhajji got less overs cos he did not show enough skill in the overs he got to bowl. MSD brought HB 1st change yet he bowled the least, shows how poor he was. MSD trusted him initially but as time went past, he realized HB was being very poor.

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 14:30 GMT)

lol bhajji just wud have played his last test..

Posted by matchfixerpkn on (February 23, 2013, 14:29 GMT)

biggest question is..on what merit and previus performances harbasjan selected n 15 member squad ?

Posted by Nampally on (February 23, 2013, 14:25 GMT)

It is amazing to see such degree of loyalty from both Laxman & Dravid for Harbhajan. But their support is unfounded reflects & poorly on their cricket knowledge. Ashwin had bowled about 30 overs on Day 1 to capture 6 wkts. On the same pitch Harbhajan bowled about 18 overs for no wkts. What does that tell you VVS? A Tale of 2 off spinners - Present Wicket Taker & a "Past it' non wicket Taker. VVS & Dravid, Test match is not the place to give confidence to a bowler past his best. It is not a practice match but a Test Match. Harbhajan could not take wkts. in Domestic Ranji & did not finish even in top 50 Bowlers. Pl. tell us how did he walk into Test XI when promising spinners like Nadeem, Rasool, Saxena & Dhurv are performing well but have no place in the squad let alone in the XI.Indian Test XI should not a select guys based on Patronage or past services. Their present Form, performance & Fitness should be used as the basis. Based on this critieria, Harbhajan should Retire from Tests.

Posted by Ray09 on (February 23, 2013, 14:23 GMT)

some tactics going wrong i guess. i've never been on the cricket field and played an international game. i feel that ojha should have been chosen... if they have taken bhajji, there could be a deep reason behind it, something that i'm not aware of. hope ojha comes in for the last 2 tests...

Posted by matchfixerpkn on (February 23, 2013, 14:23 GMT)

Harpreet..MORE THAN DHONI LOVES CSK players..some hard core fans loves out of forma harbhajan or sehwag..truth is taht in team onw only csk members are eprforming better than ohers...

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 14:22 GMT)

Dhoni surely has some favorite players time to time! I remember In England he removed Sreesanth after him getting a wicket-that time also Sharma was his favorite-Wasim Akram was wondering on commentary box what Dhoni doing to a bowler, then in Aus he removed Zaheer from attack after he got a wicket in the previous over, now he remove Bhaji from attack after he got a wicket. All the previous occasions when he did that opposition create a solid partnership, here also last wickets got few more runs that what it should have been. He simply is not a test material -he just dont get a bowler's mind-or test cricket!!

Posted by ssruprai on (February 23, 2013, 14:18 GMT)

@usernames, yes Laxman was my favorite batsman as he helped India in winning lots of matches. But I am not agreeing with his comments just because he is saying so. Other spinners might have taken 40 wickets in Ranji against not so good teams and Harbhajan didn't play full Ranji season. He played around 5-6 matches.

You are talking as if India is losing matches because of Harbhajan. How many matches has Harbhjan played during those 0-4, 0-4, and 1-2 defeats? May be 2 or 3, if I am not wrong.

Posted by usernames on (February 23, 2013, 14:15 GMT)

ssuprai - And with that, I'm out. I'm fairly sure there's going to be no objective discussion here apart from Dhoni bashing and a no-merit Laxman backing, so enjoy.

Posted by usernames on (February 23, 2013, 14:13 GMT)

ssruprai - I was a fan of Laxman's batting but this statement has zero merit. If we keep saying 'Yes, sir, you're right' just because he played X matches, we're digging a deep hole for ourselves. There's no armchair experts here -- no one is offering any advice. This is just a discussion between the merit of a decision that was made vs. something that could have been. I believe Dhoni made the right decision, and I have the facts to back it up.

Posted by itsthewayuplay on (February 23, 2013, 14:11 GMT)

The reason why Dhoni doen't have confidence in Harbajan is because he is a less than avergae spinner. Then why did he choose Harbajan over Ohja? Certainly confused thinking by Dhoni. There should be only one way for captain, team and fans to have confidence in Harbajan and that's by him taking wickets regularly decent SR and/or ER in whatever form and level he plays. The reality unfortunately, and not even VVS or Rahul Dravid can deny this is, that Harbajan's best performances are behind him. Let's look to and build for the future. Bring in spinners from the India A's if necessary and give them a chance.

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 14:11 GMT)

I've a news for VVS, if he doesn't know already.... Dhoni does not want to prosper Harbhajan's career. We don't know the reason.

Posted by usernames on (February 23, 2013, 14:11 GMT)

@ssupriah - With this kind of an attitude, there's no doubt why we're not winning anything. It's clear this guy was picked just so that he could play his 100th match, and yet, we're backing a diplomatic statement from an ex-cricketer, a statement without any merit?

Calling people armchair experts just because they disagree with your favorite cricketer is comical. If you could tell me one good reason why Harbhajan should have bowled more overs -- not his personal benefit, of course, something that would have helped India win -- I'm all ears.

It's very simple. He's insert-a-poor-adjective horrible and Dhoni made no mistake in not giving him any more overs. He's not poor for a few months; he's been poor for years and that's the reason why he was dropped. He doesn't take wicket in Ranjis, how can he consistently take wickets for India? Sure, he might take a few wickets on an odd day, but in India, you need your spinners to be consistent. That Harbhajan is not.

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 14:07 GMT)

even after 100 tests..if u r low on confidence...expecting parenting from dhoni!!!!!...god only can save him...better care for new comers...this is his last test

Posted by ajeet15 on (February 23, 2013, 14:07 GMT)

Well spotted Mr. Laxman, Dhoni has been doing this to him purposely because he want to build his own team. he should be asked questions by the team management for underusing Bhajji and why did he remove him when he just took a wicket. Even against England when Bhajji took 2 wickets he use replaced by Ashwin in the very next over. The intentions are clear that Dhoni doesn't want him in the team. Dhoni is NO ONE to decide who he wants and who he doesn't.

Thanks for raising your voice against the injustice being done to Bhajji. We need more people like you Mr. Laxman.

Regards Ajeet Singh

Posted by usernames on (February 23, 2013, 14:05 GMT)

ssruprai - Also, your love for Laxman is evident. If you are objective, his comments have no logic. He has bowled reasonably well? Just because your favorite cricketer says so? That's as biased as it gets.

He's been pathetic for years, and when the long rope ran out, he keeps making a comeback yet doesn't perform. He took less than 20 wickets while other spinners take 40 in the same Ranji season. How's that a performance that would keep you anywhere near the Indian team?

Look, it's very good that Laxman, Ganguly, et al. love their favorite bowler and want him to come back. That's great. But that shouldn't be at the cost of an Indian win. Emotions are the bane of this team, as someone else said, and Harbhajan has been poor for ages. Keep bowling him in this form, and you'll lose matches. He can't buy a top-order wicket, and yet, we must keep giving him chances?

This match winner nonsense is also baffling. What's a match winner who takes 95 wickets in 26 matches over 4 years?

Posted by Ragas96 on (February 23, 2013, 14:01 GMT)

The same treatment was meted out to Bhajji in the second test against England in Mumbai last year. Finally someone has the guts to speak the truth. Bravo Laxman!!!

Posted by ssruprai on (February 23, 2013, 13:55 GMT)

@mathewjohn2176, Looks like you haven't even read the article properly. BTW, are you astrologer to say that if Harbhajan had bowled equal number of overs to Ashwin etc then Australia would have scored 500 plus? I agree, he was bowling too short yesterday and even I was not feeling good about it. But he was bowling well today.

May be if he was given more overs today and earlier enough, he might have finished Australia earlier. And yes Laxman is much better in tests as batsman and thinking than Dhoni. Dhoni is clueless, defensive captain who was just lucky earlier.

Regarding non performing players, What did Ashwin do against England to be selected in this test ahead of Ojha? It is faith shown and confidence given to him by his CSK supporter.

Posted by AvidCricFan on (February 23, 2013, 13:54 GMT)

With the experience of 100 tests, he should have been prepared to get back in rhythm before the start of the game. He simply bowled bad when he got chance. It shouldn't take more than 3-4 overs to get in rhythm in conditions that favors spin. He was clueless in bowling.

Posted by spinkingKK on (February 23, 2013, 13:54 GMT)

I just logged in to make a comment against my favorite cricketer VVS. However, when I read the posts, most people have expressed my feelings as well. Dhoni has done well not to give too many more overs to Harbhajan. Otherwise, Australia could have reached 500. I used to think how it could have been if VVS was made captain. Now, I understand that it was good that he was never made a captain.

Posted by usernames on (February 23, 2013, 13:53 GMT)

@ssuprai -- Precisely my point. He shouldn't be anywhere near an India squad, and making that mistake and then, making another mistake of getting him to bowl as many overs as you can doesn't nullify the first one. You made a mistake, he bowls poorly, others bowl better, you bowl them more. That's as simple as that.

I don't buy this theory of confidence, etc. He isn't bowling well, that's there for all to see. And, come on, he wasn't under a lot of pressure in this match after the initial jitters as he had Ashwin bowling well on the other hand. If he could have taken a wicket or two from the top order, that would have been a good start.

And, as far as Dhoni's captaincy goes, yes, he's insipid but he's leading the worst bowling attack bar Bangladesh. He can't do miracles. Ashwin had an injury which kept him off for a little while and it took away the momentum from India. Dhoni couldn't have bowled Australia out for 250 when his main bowler was off, and the rest won't perform at all.

Posted by Al_Bundy1 on (February 23, 2013, 13:53 GMT)

Laxman has got his facts wrong. Dhoni also had to ensure that Aussies don't make an impossible target by gifting runs as Harbhajan did. He preferred Jadeja because Jadeja was bowling tight. Neither Jadeja, nor Bhajji belong in test cricket. Jadeja, with his economical bowling is good for ODI and T20. Bhajji is good only for IPL. Ojha or Nadeem can be a better option than Jadeja. Rasool is a much better off spinner than Bhajji.

Posted by realfan on (February 23, 2013, 13:52 GMT)

i dont agree with giving harbajan many overs to bowl.... i mean he was given 25 overs per innings.... isnt that enough???? all he can do with all his 100 matches experience is to take 1 tailender wicket....... i fact that he was removed from bowling early was because he dint look like a quality bowler at all....

Posted by Harpreet on (February 23, 2013, 13:52 GMT)

Agreed that Bhaji did bowled poorly yesterday and deserved not to get bowling ..... but why the hell was he taken away when he got wicket and was bowling well ...... now isn't there any hidden politics ...... all the world knows how dhoni loves his CSK teammates ...... if he had it his way he will play all of them in India team

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 13:43 GMT)

media has misintrepreted wat Lax said...... coz dhoni backed Lax,sachin and dravid even in their worst of der forms in aus..... but yday bhajji bowled v badly wid literally no intent..... so he might hav avoided bhajji to bowl... also ash n jaddu wer bowlin v good togather

Posted by matchfixerpkn on (February 23, 2013, 13:42 GMT)

Rajbir Singh..its not only dhonis fault.fault aslo with australian players ...even dhoni not utilised harbhajan atleast asutralin should have gifted few more wikcets ot harbhajan..defienlty it shoiuld have booseted his confidence.

Posted by fifer on (February 23, 2013, 13:40 GMT)

Did VVS Say That? :O Sorry Laxman Bhai, But Please Stop Losing My Respect!

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 13:39 GMT)

The simple truth here is Harbahajan was selected in order to take him to 100 Test caps. I won't be surprised if this is the last match he plays for India. Since 2005, Bhajji has been averaging close to 40. Take out the stats of the Australia series of 2001 and you will have a mediocre bowler ,who has been a one-series wonder for India.

Posted by ramli on (February 23, 2013, 13:39 GMT)

VVS ... your chance to have a go at MSD ... Bhajji with his lack-lustre bowling cannot infuse any confidence in anybody ... so he was under-bowled ... in Mumbai test ... ohja and Ashwin were the first choice spinners and so got to bowl more overs ... so what ... don't worry VVS ... Bhajji will soon join you in the commentary box

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 13:36 GMT)

Laxman's statement isn't impressive as Harbhajan Singh's form, even picking him over ojha in this match not good judgement. i don't understand why its always they are underestimating youngsters. he doesn't deserve his place in team. not in tests nor ODIS. their are better players when they are going to get chance. even backing Bhajji is wrong.

Posted by Rags57 on (February 23, 2013, 13:35 GMT)

I guess everyone seems to be after Dhoni's captaincy but the fact of the matter is that Harbhajan did not deserve to be in the playing XI - definitely not more than Ojha did. For purely emotional and may be political reasons (best known to only BCCI) Bhajji has been drafted into the playing XI. I am not a fan of Dhoni's captaincy but I can not agree with Laxman on how Bhajji was used. In fact he was brought into the attack before Ashwin was brought on and bowled a number of overs without ever looking threatening. You can't compare Jadeja to Harbhajan - Jadeja's role is more of a containing spinner so he has done his job. If Bhajji had supported Ashwin well Australia would have been bowled out for under 250 and India would be sitting in the driver's seat now. It is time to move on without getting into sentiments and emotions. The fact that Bhajji was a match winner 5 years ago does not automatically make him one now - it is all about performance on the day.

Posted by sachin_vvsfan on (February 23, 2013, 13:35 GMT)

Sorry laxman. I am fan of you but bhaji is nowhere near his best and should not have been selected in first place. He has not been good in domestic cricket and has not done any good in the 25 overs he bowled.

Posted by ssruprai on (February 23, 2013, 13:32 GMT)

@vinodzz, is commentary all about shouting and repeating the same sentences (tracer bullet, lovely shot etc etc) and stating the obvious and what everyone else can see on TV? Laxman is not there to sing. He is there to do analysis of the match situation.

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 13:30 GMT)

Harbhajan like Yuvraj is a player with immense talent, player who thrives on confidence. India, through the way both are being handled are wasting their talent and match winning abilities. Players like this maybe less methodical but when handled properly give the results that other, more methodical players can only dream of e.g. Yuvraj in 2011 WC and Harbhajan in 2001 series. It will be useless for all concerned to include Harbhajan in team & then (mis)use him like this.The spot can be better used if MSD has no confidence / willingness to use him properly.

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 13:29 GMT)

finally Bajji got placed in the team..rather if Ojha has played might have performed better than Bhajji..This way you can criticise, Laxman nothing there to criticize..Laxman is very good cricketer but not expected these criticism unlike good commentator like Dravid, Ganguly...etc.

Posted by amanroy on (February 23, 2013, 13:28 GMT)

Few people know that Dhoni did right thing but they won't comment here because they are the ardent criticizers of MSD. By the way today Bhajji bowled well. VVS's commentary was full of disparage though.

Posted by street_smart on (February 23, 2013, 13:28 GMT)

If MSD doesn't have confi on Bhajji, why even play him. Country's victory is more important than personal milestone. How worse Gambhir can be but still he is miles ahead of Vijay. I'll open with Dhawan & Rahane. How bad it could be than 2/12.

Posted by CricketisKing on (February 23, 2013, 13:28 GMT)

To all those complaining about Harbhajan's bowling. He was not selected for his bowling but for his batting. Okay, okay, I am just kidding. What are you all going to do? He is in the team and he is playing. That is that. I don't think the selectors or analysts or Dhoni is going to read our comments on Cricinfo and change anything. Might as well lay back and enjoy the cricket that is being played.

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 13:27 GMT)

I respect VVS a lot but does he mean that Clarke also bowled Pattinson less (just six out of 52?). Come on he was just taken to complete his 100 tests and now should be shown the door. Feel really sorry for Ojha who had to give way for Harbhajan. Even if he takes the wickets of NINE, TEN, JACK and the second innings, he should be dropped. Enough is enough. His first class bowling efforts were well below average against mediocre teams and batsmen.

Posted by mathewjohn2176 on (February 23, 2013, 13:26 GMT)

Posted by ssruprai on (February 23, 2013, 13:06 GMT,so in your words, I guess you know more about cricket than dhoni? If harbhajan bowled equal numbers of overs like ashwin and jadeja,Australia would have scored nearly 500 runs in this pitch.He bowled poorly and Aussies were comfortable batting against him.People criticised dhoni for not picking harbhajan,then they criticised dhoni for picking harbhajan by benching their main spinner,even after he went wicket less ,now some wanted to use him more and still blaming dhoni.Ridiculous.These ex players support still makes the selectors to keep non performing players like sehwag ,harbhajan and this way Indian team is not going forward.First of all Ojha should have played this test in place of harbhajan.

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 13:26 GMT)

Our Indian Captain Mr. Dhoni of course underestimates Harbhajan Singh instead of support and enthusiasm but do not forget Harbhajan is a genuine spinner & match winner.

Posted by shrastogi on (February 23, 2013, 13:24 GMT)

Laxman has got his facts wrong. Dhoni also had to ensure that aussies dont make an impossible target by gifting runs as Harbhajan did. Test match is no place to bowl as badly as Harbhajan did in order to get back to rhythm. Dhoni did bring him early - first spinner thrown to aussies - on day 1. It is Harbhajan who didnt live upto expectations. Still he has another innings to get things right. From hindsight it looks that India is missing Ojha. I hope Jadeja fills his place adequately.

Posted by siddhucrazy on (February 23, 2013, 13:23 GMT)

harbajans was not fit to play in the playing 11 its dhonis fault to pick him

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 13:21 GMT)

It is quite obvious that Bhajji has lost his quality, laxman should know that bhajji has been selected only to complete playing his 100th Test. He is no more an international material, just wait n see .how he will be treated after this test....

Posted by cricket-spoiled-me on (February 23, 2013, 13:20 GMT)

Guys please don't comment against Dhoni's captaincy without watching match live. I don't think he deserves a place in the XI by the way he was bowling yesterday. Jadeja liiked better than Bhajji

Posted by rohithreddy on (February 23, 2013, 13:19 GMT)

Do I see some personal attack on Dhoni from Lax? Considering the events surrounding his retirement, Laxman seems to be carrying a bit of resentment towards Dhoni. Anyone who has seen Bhajji bowl in the first two sessions will quickly realize that he is out of his tricks. I mean, if you are playing your 100th test and you can't pick up a single wicket on a sqaure turning track in 19 overs, you don't deserve to bowl.

Posted by ssruprai on (February 23, 2013, 13:16 GMT)

@usernames, what is the point in getting him into the team and not giving him proper opportunity? People don't understand that the person is just playing 2nd test match in more than a year and it takes time to get back into rhythm when playing against good batsmen.

He is always under pressure to take 3-4 wickets and that is why he has not been able to consistently bowl well and he doesn't have support of the captain.

And regarding Dhoni's captaincy, less said the better. With his defensive tactics and wrong bowling choices he let Australia score 380 from 150/5 odd.

Posted by thinkgood on (February 23, 2013, 13:16 GMT)

Bhajji's return to international cricket is not as important as India winning this series. Also Laxman may be taking his anger on Dhoni personally for his "unwilling" retirement. May be Dhoni is saving Bhajji for second innings. In any case its captains job to decide who should bowl and how much in a match and not commentator's.

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 13:15 GMT)

Richards are u serious to say jadeja is a far better bowler than bhajji...

in sch a case i wont be surprised to hear from u that jadeja is a better batter than viru n gauti tooo...

common guyz laxman is a more experienced man than any 1 of us sitting here n if he toooo feels bhajji should be gvn confidence he is spot on withhis observation....

1 does not play 100 tests if he is not gd n wen a player of sch class is going through a lean patch with his confidence too down that is when a skipper comes into play to inspire sch legends bcz these players cannot be transformed to ordinary players suddenly...

i will love to see bhajji running through aussie batting in 2'nd inninghs n hope he shuts his critics....

Posted by gitapat on (February 23, 2013, 13:15 GMT)

The choice of Harbhajan Singh was a bad decision.Ojha should have played instead.

Posted by vinodzz on (February 23, 2013, 13:14 GMT)

His commentary is not pleasant to hear ...

Posted by Lahore-Badshah on (February 23, 2013, 13:10 GMT)

Dhoni wants India side should belong to CSK only. Why Sachin coz he iz love of world not only indians and Virat coz he iz one of the best young crickerts in the world. Why is veeru coz every one knows his ability. Dhoni is cheap guy. he devastated the best indian side. If this will continue Indian cricket will sink very soon. India should look for new captain now? Virat is the best choice......................i suggest

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 13:08 GMT)

Laxman's observation of bowling Harbhajan might be spot on but why do you want any out of form player to get confidence in a test match. This should have happened in the domestic matches. We all saw and pitied Harbhajan for the way he bowled in the matched. Bowling half trackers on a turning track doesnt warrant long spells.

Posted by jasonpete on (February 23, 2013, 13:08 GMT)

Why would you use the spinner who looks least threatening among other spinners? Harbhajan playing his 100th test and he bowls like a debutant.Even part time bowler jadeja looked more threatening than harbhajan with a better economy.Australia batsmen played freely against harbhajan and there is no reason for captain to use him more.Infact Ojha should have been in place of harbhajan but then the team management wants harbhajan to complete his 100 th test milestone.He is a shadow of the past and its time these ex players stop supporting the out of form players like harbhajan and sehwag.He is playing this test for his past reputation against Australia and not on current form.

Posted by ChiragPathak on (February 23, 2013, 13:07 GMT)

. Spot on Laxman. We all know Dhoni is playing confidence with Bhaji. That is just to accommodate Ashwin permanently in a team Same happen to Oaja, he was highest wicket taker in last series now not in a team ! ! ! He is playing with confidence of Sehwag too. See where this legend was before, now he is not secure in a Indian team. Same happen to Rahane. He played well in England series, make 50 in t20 against England and replaced by No talent Rohit ! ! ! Same happen to you laxman as well....remember sudden retirement ! ! ! No jaffer in a team and MVijay...another example.

So Dhoni is better politician than cricketere

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 13:07 GMT)

Well done Laxman..u r spot on in your debut as a commentator.Anybody who understands cricket should have felt this.Even on day one Bhajji had warner plumb in front in the first session but umpire did not give him out.So bhajji needed some confidence from the skipper but his misfortune is that he plays for MI and not csk.Bhajji is still a match winner but he needs a captain like dada.His career started on decline since dhoni became captain.But i am sure he will perform brilliantly in second inning and will prove that he is a real champion player and still 3-4 years of cricket is left in him.Cmon bhajji....your fans are still with u

Posted by LifeWithBoundaries on (February 23, 2013, 13:07 GMT)

Alright Ruchin Agarwal and Matthew Richards! But why did they pick him in the first 11? As a bowler right? or just to make him play the 100th? If you say his bowling was "least threatening" or "utter nonsense" then you wont put him on the sidelines for over 50 overs! Also during that 50 overs time, what good did the other bowlers do? Not really much! In that case, rotation of the bowlers in your quiver is what needs to be done which Dhoni is guilty of doing! Come on guys, one of the first things that strikes my mind when I think about Indian cricket is politics and corruption!

Posted by ssruprai on (February 23, 2013, 13:06 GMT)

@Ruchin Agarwal, looks like you know more about cricket than VVS Laxman. What excuse you'll give about the 2nd Test vs England (the only test Harbhajan played)?

Posted by usernames on (February 23, 2013, 13:06 GMT)

@Brijesh - Yeah, how much good did Stuart Broad's wicket in Mumbai do for him? Let's bash Dhoni for every thing. He's responsible for global warming, poverty, what not! Why in the world would a captain even play, let alone give his most mediocre bowler more overs than others?

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 13:05 GMT)

I have seen the match in stadium and harbhajan is a disaster, i duno how he was selected to the playing 11. every aussie batsman targeted bhajji, to release the pressure..ed cowan hit bhajji for six, ed cowan tried the same with ashwin and was stumped,as it turned more.. Bhajji needs more practise and laxman is completely wrong.. laxman try to concentrate on commentary rather analysing..cricinfo have few good analysers for it

Posted by jazzfreak on (February 23, 2013, 13:05 GMT)

Harbhajan went for 3.48 an over vs Ashwin @ 2.45 and Jadeja @ less than 2 If Dhoni had done what Laxman says Oz would have climbed to 400 plus and the wickets may not have come If Harbhajan is low on confidence he cannot regain it by giving away runs He needs to work on his mind and his bowlling

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 13:03 GMT)

Yes. Leave it how many overs Bajji bowled fewer than Jadeja. What he has done of bowling 25 overs? Was he there for taking Siddles wicket after bowling 25 overs? He has not even troubled the batsman.

Posted by ssruprai on (February 23, 2013, 13:03 GMT)

VVS is absolutely right. Laxman obviously knows more than arm chair experts. That is exactly me and lots of other Indian cricket supporters are thinking. Dhoni intentionally under bowls Harbhajan Singh, whenever he is selected in the team. It almost looks like Dhoni doesn't want Harbhajan in the team. Harbhajan has bowled reasonably well this Ranji season to have been selected.

Posted by Sakthiivel on (February 23, 2013, 13:01 GMT)

Did Laxman looked how Bhaji bowled ??

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 13:01 GMT)

Emotions has been the bane of this Team and I guess Dhoni is going in right Direction. Harbhajan was Bowling half trackers and Test Match is No place to give somebody confidence. For the load of rubbish he delivered, I guess he should not be part of the next match

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 13:01 GMT)

With all due respect to VVS as a batsman dhoni is a better leader surely in comparison to him and all harbhajan did yesterday was to leak runs with flat medium pace instead of wasting more time and runs with bhajji it was better to stick to ashwin and jadeja.I don't know why harbhajan is being supported by former players(dravid,VVS etc), he has performed badly at international since last 3 years or so,in between mediocre performance at domestic level and it is a suprise he i even in the team let alone give him more chance to bowl

Posted by bored_iam on (February 23, 2013, 12:58 GMT)

@Matthew Richards: Today he DID look threatening! Id agree if ud said the same thing yesterday. Just when he was beginning to bowl well, he was taken off.... I have to agree with @Ravi Nagubandi i guess.

Posted by usernames on (February 23, 2013, 12:58 GMT)

This guy keeps getting chances. In Indian team, Rest of India, etc. and fails to perform. And makes big claims. And people think he's great. Give me a break. If I were the captain, I'd not have him anywhere near anything that's even remotely a team representing India. Go back to state cricket, do whatever you can do. Laxman was a good cricketer but these diplomatic comments and unfounded support don't help anyone, least of all Indian cricket.

Posted by torsha on (February 23, 2013, 12:57 GMT)

Dhoni was right by not using Bhajji at times but blaming Dhoni is nonsense. Laxman, you need to polite in your words like Rahul Dravid. I heard your commentary today but wasn't pleasing.

Posted by QingdaoXI on (February 23, 2013, 12:56 GMT)

@Cricinfo editors Please include like button for comments and about Laxman comments spot on, I too was thinking same in this test as well as in Mumbai test, it seems Dhoni is not interested to stick with senior players as he feels unsafe around them. If harbhajan would have bowled to tail enders and had taken more than one wik it would have certainly help to grow his confidence and deliver more better performance in Second innings. I still hope Bhajji creating some magic in next innings and taking five for to make his 100 test memmorable with Indian win.

Posted by usernames on (February 23, 2013, 12:56 GMT)

It's Harbhajan's responsibility to bowl as much as he can in Domestic cricket and maybe even county cricket. Taking one or two International wickets just to force himself back into the team won't do US any good if he's not consistent. There are others who MUST be higher up the order when it comes to spinners in India. This guy is a pale shadow of what he was, and yet, everyone and their cat is supporting him. In his present form, he's worse than Imran Tahir and that's saying a lot. You don't get confidence in how much your captain bowls in you; he's got you in the frikkin' team ahead of his premier bowler. Go and do your job -- bowl well. You won't and then blame it on mysterious things asking people to look at how well you bowled. You didn't. Your leg side filth was pathetic. Go back to domestic cricket and improve. Get more wickets than Nadeem, Joshi, et al. do and then make a claim. Don't rely on your past laurels. When will these ex-cricketers understand this?

Posted by Sachinz_fan on (February 23, 2013, 12:56 GMT)

That's True, off late Dhoni's selection tactics have been biased......... and Harbhajan was clearly underbowled in this test as well as in Mumbai against England as well....

This is not going to do any good to Team India

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 12:53 GMT)

when there are 2 off spinners in the side, and when 1 is getting wickets and/or looks like getting one, will be utilized more than the other. Both in Mumbai and Chennai Harbajan was not at all threatening like he used to be or was batsman uncomfortable with him, unlike in the case of Ashwin.

Posted by usernames on (February 23, 2013, 12:52 GMT)

Ha, now let's all support Laxman and go ballistic on Dhoni. The truth is, he would have been criticised if he made Harbhajan bowl more than he did anyways. Jadeja is a far better limiting option, and Ashwin was doing a very good job with the ball. I don't think Dhoni even wanted Harbhajan to play this match; it's mostly the board's fetish with the nonsense 100th test match that Harbhajan is playing this match. His bowling has been horrible. He was a great bowler, yes, but the keyword is was. He isn't even 10% of what he was, and even if you have such a bowler in your team, and two others are clearly doing a better job, what's the sense in going with him? I mean, go and get your confidence back in Ranji. Which he won't, of course. He should just stick to making big claims and these ex-cricketers should stop supporting their favorite players. Our (Indians) favorite 'Yes, sir, he's a legend, sir, he's going to do well, he did well, etc.' when he clearly is lacking is a pathetic attitude.

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 12:51 GMT)

Very right,Bhajji is making a comeback and is obviously a little low on confidence.A captain's job is to give confidence to his bowlers.But Dhoni is sending the wrong signals here

Posted by msdhoni123 on (February 23, 2013, 12:51 GMT)

But why would dhoni choose a bowler who is not bowling very well. Jadeja who is a part time spinner bowled better than bhaaji and he was more economical as well. Laxman keeps mentioning Bhaaji confidence. For someone who played 100 test matches hes got eniugh experiance on how to cope with confidence. I would have preferred ojha to have played instead of Bhaaji.

Posted by yoogi on (February 23, 2013, 12:50 GMT)

Well, Laxman rarely gives a criticism and when he does, there is a merit to it. Removing him immediately after he had taken a wicket is not really good captaincy. But then Clarke also does it to pattinson, which is probably understandable if Pattinson has an injury concern.

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 12:49 GMT)

I agree with VVS entirely. Dhoni is at fault for not being able to determine how best to use Harbhajan Singh. Harbhajan Singh bowled beautifully, this morning and even accounted for Peter Siddle. Yet he was taken off and replaced by Jadeja, when he was troubling the batsmen with his guile. Poor captaincy, indeed. India should have never let Australia get away with that big partnershi between Clarke & Henriques.

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 12:49 GMT)

too biased....i never remember one instance where bhajji has looked THREATENING!!!! Really?????

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 12:48 GMT)

I wondered the exact same thing when I was watching the Mumbai test. :(

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 12:47 GMT)

Well... VVS more than any one else should know that this is Indian Cricket (or shall we say Srinivasan-Dhoni cricket). Dhoni has never been fond of Harbhajan, so he's just looking for ways of cutting him off...wnt be a surprise if Harbhajan is dropped after this very match.. Inexplicable when a part-timer like Jadeja bowls almost 1.5times Harbhajan...

Posted by schuyfan on (February 23, 2013, 12:47 GMT)

Layman makes a valid point, am sure he would raise same question about Clarke's captaincy too..Pattinson bowls only 6 overs in the day and being most successful bowler doesn't finish the day trying for more wickets but Lyon bowls alongside Starc...strange isnt it..Anyway, I reckon we should have played Ojha and Rahane instead of Jadeja and Harbhajan...our batting looks very light...

Posted by Brijesh_Gupta on (February 23, 2013, 12:44 GMT)

Laxman's ovservation is spot on.The Captain should have supported and given him a bowl when the Aussie tailenders were at the crease.Wicket's and Faith of the Captain would do wonder's for his confidence and at the time both seem to have deserted Bhajji.

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 12:44 GMT)

Dhoni did the right thing, didn't laxman notice what utter nonsense bhaji was bowling.

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 12:36 GMT)

why would you bowl the least threatening of your spinners more? Harbhajan is a shadow of what he was, Ashwin and Jadeja( and Ojha) are better bowlers

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 12:33 GMT)

well said LAXMAN SIR...

Posted by   on (February 23, 2013, 12:33 GMT)

Bizzare tactics from Dhoni. Looks like he doesn't have confidence in players who are not reprsenting CSK.....Really sad.

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