England in India 2012-13 November 5, 2012

Don't judge bowler only by wickets count - Harbhajan

ESPNcricinfo staff

Harbhajan Singh, the India offspinner who was recalled to the Test squad on Monday, has hit out at his critics, and also declared that he has "evolved" as a cricketer during his year out of the team.

"A good bowler should not be only judged by his wickets count, his skillful bowling methods should also be taken into account," Harbhajan told PTI in Mohali. "His (a spinner's) role changes according to the wicket. Some people who have not played cricket themselves have been writing crap stuff about me."

Harbhajan was a permanent member of India's Test squad for several years before he was left out for the tour of Australia late last year, leaving him with 98 Test caps. "It would be nice to complete 100 Test matches, I just can't wait to get into whites for India against England."

While Harbhajan hasn't taken loads of wickets on the first-class circuit after being dropped, he said he had improved as a cricketer. "During the time I was out of the Indian team I got time to work on different aspects of the game. I captained Punjab team and also the Mumbai Indians. I think I have become a good listener and can handle things on the field in a better way."

India's captain MS Dhoni has repeatedly called for turning tracks for home series, and Harbhajan also hoped the pitches would assist spinners. "The wickets should have everything for everyone. When Dhoni says that he has not seen any spinner getting the ball bounce in the rib cage area of the batsman in the recent past, I agree with him.

"I would love to bowl on a wicket which has both turn and bounce, so that I can also bowl in the rib area of the batsman from outside the off stump."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Al on November 7, 2012, 15:22 GMT

    Agree with @S.Jagernath. Ishant and Bhajji are lucky to be included in India's test side. Both have been wicketless for so long that it isn't even funny. Instead of Ishant, they should have selected Pankaj Singh or Imtiaz Ahmed. Similarly they should try a young spinner like Iqbal Abdulla or Aparajith in place of Bhajji. 10dulkars days are numbered. If he does not score in the first 2 tests, he will be dropped.

  • Shakti on November 7, 2012, 9:32 GMT

    Harbhajan Singh's comment makes no sense & his skillful bowling methods were gladly received by England at Lord's & Trent Bridge.Venkatesh Prasad needs to listen to himself,Suresh Raina's technique is horrifying,I wonder if Prasad saw him ducking & diving at Trent Bridge & Edgbaston & getting mesmerized by Graeme Swann at The Oval.Virender Sehwag's plea to bat in the middle order needs to be considered & if Vijay happens to be the player to succeed as an opener,then so be it.Ajinkya Rahane will have to wait for Sachin Tendulkar retire.Tendulkar is ageing but hasn't done that badly,still averages 40 from the start of the England tour to now.Ishant Sharma & Harbhajan are very lucky to be selected.

  • Vikash on November 7, 2012, 7:59 GMT

    Agree to Valavan!! Kumble was the support for Harbhajan taking so many wickets. Bhajji has already declared what will be his fate in the Test Matches as he will in all probability not get enough wickets. The way he has bowled in last 4 years shows he is nowhere near to be palying international cricket. Also, what does he mean by people who have not played cricket. Playing international/domestic cricket only justifies if someone has played cricket. It's the talent/understanding that counts. It's nt necessary that if someone who has not represented in International/Domestic features do not know anything about cricket. Anyways!!! since we love India and Indian Cricket, we will love to see he performs well. I believe Cricketers should also focus on improving their game rather than trying to prove a point by giving lame excuses. A bowler role is to try and pick 20 wickets of the opposite team in Test Matches. Bhajji, containing runs is also not a cup of tea for u.

  • gnanavelu on November 7, 2012, 5:07 GMT

    If a bowler is not to be judged by wickets,he can be judged by other important factors like 1)garment size 2)no. of fb followers 3)no. of matches one goes wicketless etc

  • Anoop on November 7, 2012, 2:39 GMT

    Bhajji is a very good bowler and potentially India's best spinner. But he has to overcome his urge to bowl flat once the batsman starts to attack him. We have seen time and again that he is a different bowler when he flights the bowl and get it to dip, bounce and turn. A case in example would be the T20 against England in the T20 wc. But he has to sustain it like he used to do against the marauding Matt hayden & Co in 2001. If he does that he is a better bowler than Ashwin. And saying that a bowler should not be judged by the number of wickets is telling a batsman should not be judged by the number of runs or a student by the number of marks he scores :-)

  • Al on November 7, 2012, 0:08 GMT

    I don't understand why Prasad is batting for Raina. Raina has been around for 7 years now. He had plenty of opportunities to cement his place. As a former test bowler, Prasad should be vouching for his bowlers, especially Imtiaz Ahmed. UP would have never defeated Delhi without Imtiaz's 9 wicket haul. Another bowler who deserves a place in the Indian team is Pankaj Singh of Rajasthan.

  • Dummy4 on November 6, 2012, 18:08 GMT

    This is similar to batsman saying he is looking good at crease and his technique is fine but not getting runs and claim that its matter of time before he gets runs.Any one will take runs over looking good at crease for short duration and getting out for low scores.Similarly bhajji we take wickets over your skillful bowling methods.So please stop your personal evaluation of skills and let your performances determine your skills.You are damn lucky that you got selected in squad and hopefully not in x1.

  • Rahul on November 6, 2012, 14:32 GMT

    Then on wat basis the bowlers will be selected in team?Please somebody ask this question as well to him .Until and unless we get out of denial mode and don't accept our fault and give lame excuses we cannot move ahead.Batsman is their to score runs and bowlers are there to take wickets and contain runs.If you don't do it u r out.It simple..

  • Mohan on November 6, 2012, 14:27 GMT

    While I like Bhajji a lot and even feel that due to the media pressure he did not evolve completely - both as a bowler and as a batsmen, he cannot be serious of what he is saying - especially for test cricket. While his statment holds true for one day and T20, it is ridiculous of him to expect that one can win a test match or even draw it with this approach. It may be OK in match or two to play the role of a bowler who ties one end up, but that is useful only if somebody in the team is taking wickets. I also get cheesed by cricketers who make these absurd comments about not having played cricket. The cricketers would not be anywhere if not for the fans and the media. Also, getting to play cricket at test level in India is matter of chance or a host of other reasons, and those who get to play it should just be grateful that they get to do it - no matter if their bowling average over the last two years is hovering around 40 like Bhajji's or Ishant's.

  • Kalaiarasan on November 6, 2012, 14:25 GMT

    Then play street cricket..why do u wanna play for india...show ur skill....means show in taking wickets...not in media...

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