India's selection for World T20 August 11, 2012

I need to start afresh - Harbhajan

Offspinner reveals how he battled various fears in the last year to stay strong
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On Friday afternoon, as soon as Essex finished a convincing victory against Kent in their Championship match, Harbhajan Singh dashed from Canterbury to the outskirts of London to pay obeisance at a Gurudwara. It was an important day.

August 1, 2011 was the last time Harbhajan had played for India. He had left the England tour mid-way due to a stomach injury. He was two matches away from becoming only the ninth Indian cricketer to play 100 Tests. But a combination of injuries, dip in form and the lack of faith from the selection panel left him stranded on 98 Tests. He missed the home series against West Indies, the away tour of Australia, the Asia Cup and recently the limited-overs series against Sri Lanka. In between he lead Mumbai Indians to their maiden Champions League Twenty20 title and replaced Sachin Tendulkar as the captain for the fifth season of the IPL. Yet deep down, Harbhajan was worried if he might ever make a come back.

So today, even before he stepped into the ground, when he received the message about his recall into the Indian squad for the World Twenty20, Harbhajan was caught unawares. Luckily he was distracted by the cricket and played a match-winning hand with three wickets. It was the first time Harbhajan had taken four wickets in a match after the tour of the Caribbean last year.

"It is special. It is good to be back in the team. It is another opportunity to do well. I have played for so many years but that has all gone. I need to start fresh. I am very excited to be part of the team," Harbhajan said, walking late evening on the streets of Chelmsford city to get his dinner. The news was still sinking in, but the sense of hurt and disappointment caused by the year-long hiatus had taken its toll somewhat even on a steely fighter like Harbhajan.

He admitted it was a "very hard and tough year" sitting out, and agreed with the view by his former captain Rahul Dravid, who had said that a comeback was tougher than making a debut. "Nobody would like to be outside the team but as Rahul [Dravid] mentioned it is difficult to make comebacks than playing first time for India. It is much more difficult for a guy like me who has played for 12 years, had a very successful career and then suddenly you are out of the team. Then you have to work even harder and you have to compete with yourself to do even better. Having already set some standards through your various performances you are competing with yourself. You have to step one further now. For that you have to work even more harder, remain even more focused and start again from the scratch."

There was indeed some desperation when everything he tried did not translate into good things on the field. "You work even harder but nothing clicked - I tried everything but either I was getting injured or I was not getting the rewards," Harbhajan said.

The lesson, Harbhajan pointed out, he learned during his time out was "nothing can be taken for granted." Philosophical, yet true. "Even your failure and your success cannot be taken for granted. When you are going through a good patch you tend to ignore certain things. It could be your sleeping habits, it could be waking up at 6 am and going for a jog, it could be a gym session. You think you know you have to do all things. But when you come out of the team, you get injured, you are not doing that well and then you realise these are the things I am missing," he said. So getting stronger, both mentally and physically, were the twin goals that would allow him to be in a good position once he was recalled.

But the injuries posed as the main stumbling blocks. "It took me about three months to recover from the stomach injury. Later I led Mumbai Indians to the title in the Champions League Twenty20 but suddenly I was hit by the shin injury," he said. The shin pain did not allow him to even run for five minutes at a stretch and kept him out for another three months. "My focus completely shifted towards these frequent injuries. I wondered why this was happening." He was desperate. He wanted to come back.

"I just want to go and enjoy the game because I felt during the time out I had forgotten to enjoy the game."
Harbhajan Singh

"I played Ranji Trophy games but did not get too many wickets. I lead Punjab well in the shorter formats. But that was not just enough," he said. He had just two wickets in his bag from the three Ranji matches that he played. Harbhajan was not entirely sure if he had lost his mojo. "I did not feel I had gone wrong drastically. That I had lost everything I had: the control on the ball, the way it spun. Those things were happening, but not the way I wanted it to be."

The fear of another injury had gripped him. But then he started speaking to successful people from all walks of life and their underlying message was to just enjoy his trade. "I just want to go and enjoy the game because I felt during the time out I had forgotten to enjoy the game. Even in the IPL I was under pressure which came out of my own expectations. I was feeling like: I need to lead the side well, I need to perform well to comeback into the side. So that probably affected my chances."

The plan to come to England had a meaning. He wanted to enjoy the game, which had gone missing. The IPL was the final leg of the Indian domestic season and Harbhajan had managed just six wickets in 17 matches without bowling his full quota of overs in as many as eight outings. He then decided to play for an English county and had offers from Essex and Somerset. He understood the challenge was bigger because the domestic batsmen in England are far more conservative in their strokeplay. Also the pitches do not turn much. But he knew he could make a difference. "I am enjoying over here and playing competitive cricket and looking much better than what I was both mentally and physically and bowling lot of overs whenever I get opportunity and the sun is out. I definitely want Essex to finish stronger."

It was a similar scenario in 2007 when Harbhajan had helped his former county Surrey get promoted that season. Back then the selectors had left out Harbhajan from the England tour. But his strong performances at Surrey had earned him a national berth a few months later for the inaugural World Twenty20 in South Africa, which India won. He remains equally confident this time, too: that Essex would move from Division Two to Division One and India could stake a strong claim to the World Twenty20 crown in Sri Lanka.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on August 13, 2012, 14:05 GMT

    a slot has been wasted...

  • g.narsimha on August 13, 2012, 11:05 GMT

    shareef sheribas-before posting these coments u should have checked what was the performance of AJMAL in AUS, yes ASHWIN failed in AUS so does AJMAL he was utter flop in AUS, ENG his AVE IN AUS -111per wicket , yaa he insured few wins against poms sl & few minnows on helping tracks but , he too failed in SL, against INDIAN every where , could not win a match against them , more over AHWIN also instrumental in few wins in INDIA .

  • vinodkumar on August 13, 2012, 10:29 GMT

    Ok. 'm no great fan of bhajji and believe Ashwin is the future. Going by performance of each of them over the last year I would any day pick Ash over Bhajji in playing 11 in tests or ODI. Not that I would drop Ash for Bhajji in a T20. But considering that the T20WC is going to be in SL, I may play both. Ash will be my first choice. But if we need to play 2 spinners bhajji is a better option in T20s compared to the others we have. MS is a smart guy capable of using both very wisely in T20s. And also Bhajji can cause serious worries to any bowler when(not consistently)he comes good with the bat. That almighty hoick could deposit the best fast bowlers beyond the boundry ropes. So what we could have is a proper 6+5 combination with Irfan, Bhajji and Ash contributing also with the bat. Zak and Bala/Dinda could be the other two bowlers.The six bats- Gauti,Viru,Kohli,Raina,MS,Yuvi/Rohit/Manoj. If Yuvi is match fit I would play him as fifth option and have Rohit/Manoj replace Bhajji/Bala/Dinda

  • DeathKnell on August 13, 2012, 10:09 GMT

    @ Harvinder Pal Singh Bobby on (August 13 2012, 07:31 AM GMT) - u ask others not to compare but then u give an awful comparision???..check out this.. first 6 test matches of HBS (15 wickets @ 40.93) and for RA (31 wkts @ 34.48). In the first 39 One day innings HBS (49 wkts @29.38) and for RA (56wkts @30.50).. so better dont compare & most importantly dont bring on the statistics for this issue.. both play for the country & both have to perform well in future..HBS is neither SRT & RA is nor CP

  • on August 13, 2012, 7:31 GMT

    I don't know why people are comparing Ashwin with bhajji. The fact is these two are not comparable. Can you compare Pujra with Sachin Any ways lets do a fare comparison In his Good days Ashwin in his last 15 ODI's 17 Wickets with 4.79 Economy, while In bad days Harbhajan is 15 wickets with 4.29 economy. In his last 3 test matches Ashwin has 9 wickets @ 62.77 and Harbhajan Singh in his worst performance 8 wickets @48.50.Again to say these are only stats. You should not rate Players according to this. Harbhajan is a performer Remains a performer always. He will proves it once again

  • EverybodylovesSachin on August 13, 2012, 1:59 GMT

    Harbhajan..You are going to do it once again..Best of Luck..

  • Nampally on August 12, 2012, 23:39 GMT

    Harbhajan says "I want to just go & enjoy the game"!. You will never enjoy the game unless your performance rises to expectations. Quite honestly, Harbhajan lost the art of bowling which made him such a fine off spinner. He can only start afresh if he can reproduce that old magic. He performed so poorly in IPL, Ranji & all Indian domestic first class matches. The Selectors made a mistake in selecting him in the squad despite his lack of performance at all levels. He would have achieved a huge victory if only he justifies the Selectors faith in him as a bowler. That is the only way to enjoy. Otherwise it is the swan song for him.

  • on August 12, 2012, 20:19 GMT

    I cant understand why people are criticizing Ashwin. He hasn't performed upto the expectations in Australi but let me tell of you even bowler like Muralitharan failed to perform in those conditions. He is India's best bowler in powerplays (even better than Zaheer), likes bowling when opposition batsmen are on rampage. He is Dhoni's go to man. He is the only Indian bowler whose economy rate is below 5 over last one year.

  • TheGame666able on August 12, 2012, 19:47 GMT

    People should check Bhajji's Test record in Aus before criticizing Ashwin.His bowling avg in Aus is 70+.In ODI and T20 Bhajji is nowhere close to Ashwin.Ashwin bowls in the powerplays and still manages to dry up the runs.

  • on August 12, 2012, 12:02 GMT

    i dont know if you remember- in the T 20 final - when we won- Dhoni asked Bhajji to bowl the last over and Bhajji panicked and refused - he then went to Joginder Kumar- remember him- who bowled 6 great balls. What a lucky man this bhajji is- or are there other considerations for such an absurd decision.

  • on August 13, 2012, 14:05 GMT

    a slot has been wasted...

  • g.narsimha on August 13, 2012, 11:05 GMT

    shareef sheribas-before posting these coments u should have checked what was the performance of AJMAL in AUS, yes ASHWIN failed in AUS so does AJMAL he was utter flop in AUS, ENG his AVE IN AUS -111per wicket , yaa he insured few wins against poms sl & few minnows on helping tracks but , he too failed in SL, against INDIAN every where , could not win a match against them , more over AHWIN also instrumental in few wins in INDIA .

  • vinodkumar on August 13, 2012, 10:29 GMT

    Ok. 'm no great fan of bhajji and believe Ashwin is the future. Going by performance of each of them over the last year I would any day pick Ash over Bhajji in playing 11 in tests or ODI. Not that I would drop Ash for Bhajji in a T20. But considering that the T20WC is going to be in SL, I may play both. Ash will be my first choice. But if we need to play 2 spinners bhajji is a better option in T20s compared to the others we have. MS is a smart guy capable of using both very wisely in T20s. And also Bhajji can cause serious worries to any bowler when(not consistently)he comes good with the bat. That almighty hoick could deposit the best fast bowlers beyond the boundry ropes. So what we could have is a proper 6+5 combination with Irfan, Bhajji and Ash contributing also with the bat. Zak and Bala/Dinda could be the other two bowlers.The six bats- Gauti,Viru,Kohli,Raina,MS,Yuvi/Rohit/Manoj. If Yuvi is match fit I would play him as fifth option and have Rohit/Manoj replace Bhajji/Bala/Dinda

  • DeathKnell on August 13, 2012, 10:09 GMT

    @ Harvinder Pal Singh Bobby on (August 13 2012, 07:31 AM GMT) - u ask others not to compare but then u give an awful comparision???..check out this.. first 6 test matches of HBS (15 wickets @ 40.93) and for RA (31 wkts @ 34.48). In the first 39 One day innings HBS (49 wkts @29.38) and for RA (56wkts @30.50).. so better dont compare & most importantly dont bring on the statistics for this issue.. both play for the country & both have to perform well in future..HBS is neither SRT & RA is nor CP

  • on August 13, 2012, 7:31 GMT

    I don't know why people are comparing Ashwin with bhajji. The fact is these two are not comparable. Can you compare Pujra with Sachin Any ways lets do a fare comparison In his Good days Ashwin in his last 15 ODI's 17 Wickets with 4.79 Economy, while In bad days Harbhajan is 15 wickets with 4.29 economy. In his last 3 test matches Ashwin has 9 wickets @ 62.77 and Harbhajan Singh in his worst performance 8 wickets @48.50.Again to say these are only stats. You should not rate Players according to this. Harbhajan is a performer Remains a performer always. He will proves it once again

  • EverybodylovesSachin on August 13, 2012, 1:59 GMT

    Harbhajan..You are going to do it once again..Best of Luck..

  • Nampally on August 12, 2012, 23:39 GMT

    Harbhajan says "I want to just go & enjoy the game"!. You will never enjoy the game unless your performance rises to expectations. Quite honestly, Harbhajan lost the art of bowling which made him such a fine off spinner. He can only start afresh if he can reproduce that old magic. He performed so poorly in IPL, Ranji & all Indian domestic first class matches. The Selectors made a mistake in selecting him in the squad despite his lack of performance at all levels. He would have achieved a huge victory if only he justifies the Selectors faith in him as a bowler. That is the only way to enjoy. Otherwise it is the swan song for him.

  • on August 12, 2012, 20:19 GMT

    I cant understand why people are criticizing Ashwin. He hasn't performed upto the expectations in Australi but let me tell of you even bowler like Muralitharan failed to perform in those conditions. He is India's best bowler in powerplays (even better than Zaheer), likes bowling when opposition batsmen are on rampage. He is Dhoni's go to man. He is the only Indian bowler whose economy rate is below 5 over last one year.

  • TheGame666able on August 12, 2012, 19:47 GMT

    People should check Bhajji's Test record in Aus before criticizing Ashwin.His bowling avg in Aus is 70+.In ODI and T20 Bhajji is nowhere close to Ashwin.Ashwin bowls in the powerplays and still manages to dry up the runs.

  • on August 12, 2012, 12:02 GMT

    i dont know if you remember- in the T 20 final - when we won- Dhoni asked Bhajji to bowl the last over and Bhajji panicked and refused - he then went to Joginder Kumar- remember him- who bowled 6 great balls. What a lucky man this bhajji is- or are there other considerations for such an absurd decision.

  • naveenpnayak on August 12, 2012, 11:52 GMT

    Poor Selection... What to say.. Young guns like Rahane should have been given a chance.. We all know Yuvraj hasnt played a match off late. Selecting him that too for a world cup is a blunder. Dinesh Karthik or Ambathi Raydu should have been preferred against Harbhajan. I dont know why have they selected Harbhajan. He dint even bowl during IPL, fearing that he would be hit and our Selection committee has given him a nod in front of talented Rahul Sharma, Iqbal Abdullah..

  • on August 12, 2012, 10:21 GMT

    Picking harbhajan is an insult to India's best bowler these days R Ashwin. R Ashwin has been India's best bowler since last 1 year. He enjoy bowling in powerplays, he likes to bowl when batsman is on rampage. On the other hand, in IPL harbhajan was scared of bowling in powerplays and also when the opposition batsmen were hitting the ball brutally. he bowled only when there was a new batsman was at crease and when the opposition were 7 or 8 down. I AM SURE THAT IF BHAJJI IS THERE IN THE 15, DHONI WUD PICK HIM AHEAD OF ASHWIN.

  • jezzastyles on August 12, 2012, 10:09 GMT

    A quality bowler and one of the few real characters left in the game - no one can doubt his passion or ability. Good luck to him. As for the many references to his personality - I don't know the bloke, I doubt any of the posters here know him - we just get a look at him on the field in the "heat of battle" and make assumptions that are probably unfair.

  • SoverBerry2 on August 12, 2012, 9:38 GMT

    Yes, he needs to be a better person first and then a good off-spinner!

  • Jimi01 on August 12, 2012, 9:18 GMT

    @Jeremy. Agree with you on that one. His disgusting attitude is letting his whole country down.

  • TheGame666able on August 12, 2012, 9:09 GMT

    People should check Bhajji's Test record in Aus before criticizing Ashwin.His bowling avg in Aus is 70+.In ODI and T20 Bhajji is nowhere close to Ashwin.Ashwin bowls in the powerplays and still manages to dry up the runs.

  • Sarangarajan on August 12, 2012, 8:40 GMT

    It is a very wrong move to get Harbhajan back in the team especially after his very poor performance in the past one year or so.He is going to be a disaster in the series to come if he gets chance to play because he is not in the team due to his performance with the ball.It is purely on politics/ zonal compulsion he has got one more chance.He was exposed and thrashed before he was dropped.Now what mental state he will be in when he comes to bowl at the international level?His days are over and he should call it up before he is thrashed again.But the selectors have given him one more chance on sentimental grounds.

  • mukesh_LOVE.cricket on August 12, 2012, 8:31 GMT

    Ashwin is better than harbajan in all formats , he is younger, flights the ball better and has enough variation up his sleeve , i don't understand why people wants him out of team , he just had one bad series in Australia , not even someone of muralidaran's caliber was that successful in Australia , and less said about bhajis bowling avg of 70 something down under, the better

  • on August 12, 2012, 8:07 GMT

    He needs to start his personality afresh.

  • RiteshVyas on August 12, 2012, 5:49 GMT

    Best of spin ....i miss u ...please come back in Indian Cricket

  • landl47 on August 12, 2012, 5:13 GMT

    Maybe Bhaji will be alright in T20, where taking wickets is not a priority. However, here we are in August and he has ONE first-class game (not innings) in which he has taken 4 wickets. His figures in his last two first-class games before his magical 4 wickets against Kent were 1/96 and 1/76. This is in Division 2, don't forget, where the sides are weaker. Until he takes some serious wickets at first-class level, he stays where he is- on the sidelines.

  • Prakmca on August 12, 2012, 2:18 GMT

    I thought Harbajan will never make it team India again. But surprisingly it happened. We cannot compare him with Ashin, who always loves bowling in power plays, But Harbajan never likes to bowl in power plays.

    Harbajan talks more outside the ground criticizing the media etc.. Atleast for this time, let his bowling talks for a change.

  • jimbond on August 12, 2012, 1:59 GMT

    I am not sure that he has done enough to get back into the national team. Harbajan was given a long rope, tested out thoroughly and discarded. After being discarded his domestic performance has been sub-standard. The selectors could have done a lot better to try someone new-someone like Aushik Srinivas, Appanna, or even taken a gamble with someone like Harmeet Singh. Harbajan does have fighting spirit (though at times he demonstrates it more by fighting with his team mates), but his bowling is too effective.

  • anith.kamel on August 11, 2012, 23:30 GMT

    so much dissing of ashwin after 6 test matches.. not sure if anybody checks the actual stats. ashwin's avg/SR is 34/65 against harbajan's 36/74 in the last 5 years.. ashwin has been better- given ashwin's sample size is too low but his performance is enough to provide more chances. and ashwin's stats are better in the ODI as well..

  • street_smart on August 11, 2012, 21:45 GMT

    Bhajji should sit with Ganguly & have a mental conditioning session bcoz Ganguly is the master of comebacks & one of bhajji's favourite captain & supporter

  • Khooni-Darinda on August 11, 2012, 21:34 GMT

    @Sk Abid Hasan I hail from Punjab and has definite liking for Bhajji, But I have to admit, Ashwin is more skillful bowling wise than Harbhajan is, and Ashwin's batting isn't mean either. Bhajji has been almost ineffective in recent matches. But what stands him out of rest is his fighting spirit. Be it bat, bowl or field, he given in everything he has got. He might not have ferocious spin of murali, he might not have carrom ball of Ashwin, but if he can take as many wickets he has taken with just 'never say die' attitude, it is some quality that can't be ignored. And, the entertainment value he brings, (without going to irritable antics level of sreesanth) is a plus.

  • lankanlioncric on August 11, 2012, 20:22 GMT

    he was dropped coz of lack of performance. then now picked up again, wat i dont understand is, did he show any improvement between being dropped n being picked? if not, how was he picked?

  • on August 11, 2012, 18:56 GMT

    bhajji is a better bowler than ashwin....ashwin certainly is better in t20s hes got skills for t20....but is quite ineffective in odis n test n bowls well to left handers only....the only problem with bhajji is that he bowls very quick in t20s n in test if he doesnt get a wicket early...then is morale gets down...we certainly need a character like bhajji...the aggression n all...which we lacked in eng n aus

  • fr600 on August 11, 2012, 18:07 GMT

    "Nothing can be taken for granted," says Harbhajan Singh, who has had a tough year sitting out. Don't take your fresh start for granted, you'll never have it.

  • nasrini on August 11, 2012, 17:09 GMT

    It's shocking that our bunch of selectors have taken Bhajji bac....it's like taking indian cricket 10 years back. It's proved once again that selectors select players on emotion and nothing to do with the record. Bhajji's record in last 3 years in pathetic and he doesn't turn the ball at all. He bowls negative bowling and most of the time he bowls round the wkt. His body language is of a loser and he does not care for Indian cricket...He has earned enough money...If Ashwin is there and plus there are many art timers like sehwag, raina...why the hell selectors have taken Bhajji...I would like to confront the so called selectors one to one in a open debate and I know they all will be speechless. It's irritating, frustrating, disgusting to take Harbhajhan back in Indian team...his county performance is bad..he is not even fit to play district level now...Bhajji be sensible and say good bye to cricket

  • superstar100 on August 11, 2012, 17:05 GMT

    harbhajan is best spin hiter in lower order around the world i cant forget the last asia cup hiting by him agn PAk

  • indianzen on August 11, 2012, 16:42 GMT

    When he himself is not sure of his performances.. why was he selected into the team? its definitely not the idea of Kris shrikanth...

  • vitspak on August 11, 2012, 15:58 GMT

    When we are looking for future youngsters like Abinav Mukund and Murali Vijay ,both solid players must given a chance . . however we are playing against not so threatning side like Newzealnd . .

  • ultimatewarrior on August 11, 2012, 15:29 GMT

    can anybody tell me for what reasons harbhajan singh was left out and what he has done since than in order to get a recall...i really accept ashwin has not done even half what bhajji has done in order to get established in his early career...but boy either you give chance to some new face or wait for bhajji doing miracles with his bowling in first class or even in IPL to bring him back.....and i don't know when the poor pragyan ojha once a topmost bowler of IPL will get uninterrupted run in all forms of cricket...

  • Rafelgibt on August 11, 2012, 15:17 GMT

    Are you serious??? Brother you have lost your days may be 3 years ago........But still you played......Now see what is coming towards you, BCCI has arranged your farewell match.....If you still miss it then all the best>>>>>>>>>

  • El_Toro_Loco on August 11, 2012, 14:45 GMT

    Yet again a fresh start for a below par mediocre bowler, nothing new here same old same old over-hyped player.LOL Ciao....

  • svel on August 11, 2012, 14:32 GMT

    @Shareef Sehuribas - without ashwin in the indian side the bowling looks really bleak... when ever the situation gets tough be it powerplays death overs dhoni always throws the ball to ashwin... some people say that ashwin does not take many widckets as he did earlier thats because batsmaen never go after him... they try to defend him most of the time... neither ojha or rahul sharma is better then ashwin... ojha has no variation wat so ever... and rahaul sharma does not flight the ball enough... and omg harbajan wat has he done to get into this indian team taT too for the world cup... and chawla is also a very very bad selection ... i would prefer rahul sharma as leg spinner in t20...

  • crindo77 on August 11, 2012, 14:15 GMT

    He is a very good bowler; 400 Test wickets cannot be a fluke. And Harbhajan played important hands in India's rise to the top of Test rankings and the WC win. I was in Eden Gardens when he destroyed Steve Waugh's all conquering Australians; absolutely unforgettable. Most bowlers have bad spells; Zaheer was dropped; in 1997 Waqar Younis was dropped. And they are/were great bowlers. The ability to make a comeback is always commendable. This has nothing to do with how your competitors are performing. And to mock fresh starts is to display a lack of understanding of life itself. Hopefully Harbhajan gets his mojo back soon. A firing Harbhajan equals to a more potent Indian attack. Anybody who mocks that obviously does not support Indian cricket. I hope he goes from being very good to great.

  • on August 11, 2012, 13:30 GMT

    You can now enjoy @home only Bhajee bye bye :)

  • on August 11, 2012, 13:29 GMT

    Feel sorry for Harbhajan when he said he has to start all afresh. His tone suggets the pain involved in it. All said, he is talented but he has to learn being humble and stop being arrogant. Arrogant attitude decors a select few like fighter Steve Waugh and not all ....

  • gkautish on August 11, 2012, 13:09 GMT

    the biggest problem wid him is his attitude/arrogance....he never admits that he was bowling bad.... always looking for excuses... he was nt turning d ball...he is nt ready to accept his shortcomings, still giving excuses abt injuries.... the dayhe changes his attitude, he may start performing, otherwise i m afraid he'll fail again

  • Gupta.Ankur on August 11, 2012, 13:07 GMT

    I can't believe that harbhajan has been selected. His performances are not even worth the IPL captaincy he has right now....

    He bowls low full-tosses or yorkers these days.....you can hardly call him a spinner.

  • Rumy1 on August 11, 2012, 12:57 GMT

    Jaffer is the best Test batsman who is not in Test XI. With Dravid gone Sehwag should come lower down and Jaffer should be opening the innings with Gambhir. Mukund, Rahane and Vijay are not in the same class as Jaffer. Jaffer's temperament, skill, range of shots, attitude and discipline are way ahead than these lesser mortals named here. Kaif is another talent who is stilll waiting for his chances. In the middle order with Dravid gone, Laxman soon to follow and Sachin just a few seasons away from retirement Kaif definitely deserves a look in for Tests - ahead of the likes of Raina. He is a proven middle order bat who has done well in whatever little chances that he has got. Pujara is a good selection. He deserves to be there. Aswhin is a good Ranji level offie who is good for a four over match. That is why he got exposed and stands sorted out by international batsmen. Now that Srikkant is out it is a matterof time Mohinder Amarnath moves him out. Bhajji must be in. India needs him.

  • 777aditya on August 11, 2012, 12:54 GMT

    Fair enough, if Rohit can get so many chances, why not Harbhajan?! Seriously though, if in top bowling form, Harbhajan can be just the boost India require in its spinning department. Ashwin and Ojha are good, but they lack Bhajji's spunk. Let's hope, he starts off on a good note.

  • kk4540 on August 11, 2012, 12:30 GMT

    Yousuf Pthan deserve a chance replace of Bajji He is good for nothing . Selection commiti time is over soon so we know how can bajji enter

  • fr600 on August 11, 2012, 12:23 GMT

    Fresh start at the age of 32, lol. Anytime the selectors might announce his retirement.

  • CrissCross786 on August 11, 2012, 12:11 GMT

    Basically you dont need to start fresh,you need to quit.

  • on August 11, 2012, 11:19 GMT

    It is all happening only because the bowlers those who are named to replace Bhaji not lived up to the expectation. As Ashwin got too many chances still he is missing some penetration and he is not as effective as Swan or Ajmal. It is difficult to find a spinner who dictate the terms and win more matches for us. Ashwin you can't bring in to the category of bowlers who really matters whenever needed. His failure in Australia is an example, he is totally ineffective in all forms of the game. To be frank Rahul Sharme is more effective than Ashwin against a bigger opponents even I can rate Ohja far better bowler than Ashwin. You people are agree or not Ashwin is not a international material. Really the selectors need to make very big hunting to find a spinner who can really matters for us otherwise you may need to recall even Maninder Singh

  • on August 11, 2012, 11:19 GMT

    It is all happening only because the bowlers those who are named to replace Bhaji not lived up to the expectation. As Ashwin got too many chances still he is missing some penetration and he is not as effective as Swan or Ajmal. It is difficult to find a spinner who dictate the terms and win more matches for us. Ashwin you can't bring in to the category of bowlers who really matters whenever needed. His failure in Australia is an example, he is totally ineffective in all forms of the game. To be frank Rahul Sharme is more effective than Ashwin against a bigger opponents even I can rate Ohja far better bowler than Ashwin. You people are agree or not Ashwin is not a international material. Really the selectors need to make very big hunting to find a spinner who can really matters for us otherwise you may need to recall even Maninder Singh

  • spirit_of_the_game on August 11, 2012, 11:18 GMT

    i dont understand the logic either.......probably retirement at 32 is too early for the champion he has been.........hope this ignites a spark in him and he comes back roaring.........please come back as the attacking off-spinner under dada rather than a wicket to wicket jadeja under dhoni.......u need india and more than ever india needs you.....

  • Naresh28 on August 11, 2012, 10:45 GMT

    People say things about Harbajan, but no one realises that of the current crop of spinners none reach Kumble heights. Harbajan was looked at as the lead spinner but failed to deliver. Now he has a second chance. English fans mocked him when he got injured in ENgland in the tests. At that time he had being playing continousily without a break.

  • on August 11, 2012, 9:31 GMT

    Useless srikant...his selection is same the way he played ..illogical...

  • sharidas on August 11, 2012, 9:25 GMT

    Going by the current spinners for test matches - Ojha, Ashwin and Mishra and who else ???? I am sure Harbhajan can be considered for the Tests in the home series against New Zealand. He deserves a chance and if he cannot take it ,then it could be good bye. For 20/20, I think, Ashwin is preferable.

  • on August 11, 2012, 8:59 GMT

    for his attitude i would want to c him donning Indian colors again for he has the required aggression...having said that it becomes imperative for him to actually deliver this time around...at the end of the day people look for wickets column in scorecard...nobody is bothered about how good he is bowling unless it is backed up by wickets....all the best bhajji

  • on August 11, 2012, 8:53 GMT

    @Joby_George. Agree. But, even in IPL, even when he "bowled at safe times", he couldn't deliver! No delivery. Period. Not for MI ! Not for Panjab !! Not for Essex!!!. Except, perhaps in some phantom matches, which could be seen ONLY by the Indian selectors!

  • on August 11, 2012, 8:46 GMT

    @Rajesh Radhakrishnan. Brad Hogg started delivering profusely in Australian domestic cricket... BEFORE... his short comeback. Bhajji had gone only from bad to worse, after getting dropped. Unlike in the case of Zak, even the county stint did not revive his form or fortune, till Santa Srikkant decided to come down the chimney 4 months too early, with this unexpected gift. Of course, Bhajji can claim that he is not alone, Piyush was also given such an unexpected gift!

  • on August 11, 2012, 8:40 GMT

    Congratulations to Srikkant & gang. For "debuting" a 32 year old who seems to have lost his form, more or less for good. Three years is a very long time to call it as a temporary drop in form. Great planning for building a team for the future. Is there an Arjuna Award for selectors? If you don't want to give it to Srikkant alone, BCCI can strongly recommend the whole bunch of Jok...., no,no, selectors

  • on August 11, 2012, 8:38 GMT

    good luck bajji for a new season

  • maddinson on August 11, 2012, 8:35 GMT

    too much of T20 was one of the main reasons that Harbhajan lost his control and flight. He didn't do any thing substantial to be back and specially picked him for only T-20s. Great selection.

  • on August 11, 2012, 8:01 GMT

    Harbajhan has always entertained me more as a batsman than a bowler....his bowling is just very one dimensional and sub standard. If he gets wickets it's usually because the batsman give it to him if he bowls a few good tight ones but he has no magic. India need a power spinner in the frame of Sunil narine, Shahid AFridi, Anil Kumble and Saeed Ajmal. Not base 'tweakers' like Swann, Bhajji, Jadeja, Ashwin.

    I personally think Rahul Sharma/Amit Mishra have the chance to be decent attacking spinners if they work hard,

  • timtom on August 11, 2012, 7:53 GMT

    Not sure what the outcome will be ..Will he seal his place or be shown the door for ever.. Cannot predict anything as even stranger things have happened in past.....But one thing for sure he has lost his bowling ever since Kumble retired .. I like Harbhajan for the aggression he bring to field and also his batting when he scores reasonably well and his unintended shots for 4`s and 6`s...

  • on August 11, 2012, 7:47 GMT

    Harbhajan has been taking a place in Indian team by force ,which is not acceptable for the cricketer, and i hope that he will not select in 15 Scd.

  • Joby_George on August 11, 2012, 7:41 GMT

    The Most Over rated guy. Its all because of Luck only he played for indian all these years. I dont know on what basis, he is back in the team. Did he performed well in domestic level or in IPL? it was clear that while he was captaining and playing for Mumbai indians, he never prefer to bowl when hard hitters are batting, he was hiding himself and used to bowl at safe times.

  • on August 11, 2012, 7:33 GMT

    Afghanistan Team given him a very tough time in the last T20 World cup and this time India is facing Afghanistan again, i Guess this time they are more stronger and experienced than the last time.

    So good luck

  • awalia on August 11, 2012, 7:30 GMT

    Welcome back !!! Why he was out ? was not understandable , anyways his inclusion will give boost to india. Now looks a balanced attack who can win matches. The reward you can give your fans is the "Man of the Series Award" in world cup." Nothing Less nothing More" Good Luck Bhajji

  • on August 11, 2012, 7:14 GMT

    hope to make a good come back because we also need experience in t20's . Let it be like the come back of australia's brad hogg

  • anuradha_d on August 11, 2012, 7:13 GMT

    since he was dropped......he has NOT shown in any form of game.....ability to pick wickezts

  • praveen4honestremark on August 11, 2012, 7:12 GMT

    Rectification in my previous post: 'It was 4wickets. 2 Tailenders, and 1 Opener, 1 middle order batsman'...Even then what is so great about this performance to be called as match winning performance???

  • kaviraj99 on August 11, 2012, 7:01 GMT

    Bhajji, you must work very hard to retain your place not just confined to saying that nothing can be taken for granted.

  • getsetgopk on August 11, 2012, 7:00 GMT

    The one eyed India fans were comparing this useless cricketer with SAEED AJMAL few months ago, now he is finding it hard to take wickets in Ranji Trophy let alone international cricket!

  • neerajprasher on August 11, 2012, 6:40 GMT

    Wow lack of faith on harbhjan singh.what u call that BCCI showing special interest on Rohit Sharma.talented guy come on BCCI

  • on August 11, 2012, 6:37 GMT

    i think this is the last and a golden chance for harbhajan. to proov himself best of luck bhajji ! both singh's need to make a good come back india need them in t20 world cup as good allrounders

  • on August 11, 2012, 6:01 GMT

    aswin is much better spinner than HS. moreover Aswin can bat. so there is no need of HS.

  • praveen4honestremark on August 11, 2012, 5:53 GMT

    Harbhajan has taken 3 tail-ender wickets and 1 top order batsman wicket in the match against Kent which Essex won. It was not a match winning performance at all. It was quite an ordinary performance and with this performance as basis if Harbhajan was selected for team then it is worse for Team India. I have huge respect for Harbhajan but this is not the way you should get selected.An Ordinary performance is credited and player given chance in T20 World cup, but why? Only answer may be experience and big match player. Harbhajan was big match player but not now. He has lost form , and instead of him if some deserving spinner from Domestic circuit should have been taken. This is bias selection. There is no logic in this one. Funny how Harbhajan and Chawla got chances, still wondering. They are given chances in 15 at the stake of Team India chances of winning a cup. Shame, real shame.

  • Alexk400 on August 11, 2012, 5:47 GMT

    Indian selectors have no creativity. Thats because state cricjet teams in india do not find good talent to challenge. WIth 1 billion people india should have caravan of great spinners. I know india can't produce fast bowlers mainly because of veg eating economic situation....and lack of gym habits...To spin you do not need anything special except you need long fingers and decent height. India lack scouting system to find real talented people from all corners of india.

  • groundreality on August 11, 2012, 5:42 GMT

    What exactly did he achieve in this match BTW? Took 4 wickets, out of which 2 are lower order batsmen. Scored 5 runs with the bat. What is "matchwinning" about this?

  • on August 11, 2012, 5:42 GMT

    For Bhajji's sake hope he seriuosly thinks about this comeback as a fresh start ... else he'd b a waste of space in the Indian team!

  • cricket-is-best on August 11, 2012, 5:40 GMT

    Gud luck bhajji ! Forget ur form,i always admired ur commitment to the game, and the pride players like u and yuvraj take in representing the nation,something which is absent in some modern players.

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  • cricket-is-best on August 11, 2012, 5:40 GMT

    Gud luck bhajji ! Forget ur form,i always admired ur commitment to the game, and the pride players like u and yuvraj take in representing the nation,something which is absent in some modern players.

  • on August 11, 2012, 5:42 GMT

    For Bhajji's sake hope he seriuosly thinks about this comeback as a fresh start ... else he'd b a waste of space in the Indian team!

  • groundreality on August 11, 2012, 5:42 GMT

    What exactly did he achieve in this match BTW? Took 4 wickets, out of which 2 are lower order batsmen. Scored 5 runs with the bat. What is "matchwinning" about this?

  • Alexk400 on August 11, 2012, 5:47 GMT

    Indian selectors have no creativity. Thats because state cricjet teams in india do not find good talent to challenge. WIth 1 billion people india should have caravan of great spinners. I know india can't produce fast bowlers mainly because of veg eating economic situation....and lack of gym habits...To spin you do not need anything special except you need long fingers and decent height. India lack scouting system to find real talented people from all corners of india.

  • praveen4honestremark on August 11, 2012, 5:53 GMT

    Harbhajan has taken 3 tail-ender wickets and 1 top order batsman wicket in the match against Kent which Essex won. It was not a match winning performance at all. It was quite an ordinary performance and with this performance as basis if Harbhajan was selected for team then it is worse for Team India. I have huge respect for Harbhajan but this is not the way you should get selected.An Ordinary performance is credited and player given chance in T20 World cup, but why? Only answer may be experience and big match player. Harbhajan was big match player but not now. He has lost form , and instead of him if some deserving spinner from Domestic circuit should have been taken. This is bias selection. There is no logic in this one. Funny how Harbhajan and Chawla got chances, still wondering. They are given chances in 15 at the stake of Team India chances of winning a cup. Shame, real shame.

  • on August 11, 2012, 6:01 GMT

    aswin is much better spinner than HS. moreover Aswin can bat. so there is no need of HS.

  • on August 11, 2012, 6:37 GMT

    i think this is the last and a golden chance for harbhajan. to proov himself best of luck bhajji ! both singh's need to make a good come back india need them in t20 world cup as good allrounders

  • neerajprasher on August 11, 2012, 6:40 GMT

    Wow lack of faith on harbhjan singh.what u call that BCCI showing special interest on Rohit Sharma.talented guy come on BCCI

  • getsetgopk on August 11, 2012, 7:00 GMT

    The one eyed India fans were comparing this useless cricketer with SAEED AJMAL few months ago, now he is finding it hard to take wickets in Ranji Trophy let alone international cricket!

  • kaviraj99 on August 11, 2012, 7:01 GMT

    Bhajji, you must work very hard to retain your place not just confined to saying that nothing can be taken for granted.