Alison's Tea Break August 26, 2012

Harbhajan focuses on 100 Tests

ESPNcricinfo staff

Harbhajan Singh still harbours hopes of reaching the landmark of 100 Tests despite not having played in the format for a year. He was left stranded on 98 caps when injury struck during last year's tour of England and he admitted he never imagined that he would be out of the side for so long.

It has taken a stint with English county side Essex for Harbhajan to rediscover his rhythm and his form, resulting in a recall to the India squad for the upcoming ICC World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka.

In the latest edition of 'Alison's Tea Break', Harbhajan tells Alison Mitchell about his time out of the India fold, describing how his desperation to get back hampered his form rather than helping it.

He opens up to talk about his use of 'visualisation' in order to achieve the right performance state and make himself feel as if he's "done it all before" when he takes to the field to bowl. Find out which Indian great introduced him to the technique, what it involves and when he does it. Hear what he means when he insists 'process' must come before results, and what his lofty ambitions are with the India team as he strives to force his way back into the Test as well as Twenty20 side.

Harbhajan was speaking before R Ashwin took 12 for 85 in the first Test against New Zealand, while left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha also took six wickets in the match to suggest India's Test spin department is in capable hands for the time being. However, with the visit of England looming later in the year Harbhajan is eager to add to his 405 wickets.

"I'm quite hopeful and very positive about the way things have gone here," he said of his stint at Essex. "I can't wait to get back in the Test side again, can't wait to take lots of wickets again and take my team to the No. 1 position again. That will be the contribution from my side, that's what I want to do. It can be done. It's all about belief."

And Harbhajan admitted that the desperation to get back into the Test fold may not have helped his cause of the last 12 months. "In my case I was very desperate to come back. That was probably the reason why I wasn't really concentrating on the job, or on what I had in my hand," he said. "In the last year I was putting myself under so much pressure to do well that my focus was more on the result than the process. It should have been more on the process."

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  • Dummy4 on August 28, 2012, 20:47 GMT

    This reads like a "The Onion" article. Hilarious.

  • Dummy4 on August 28, 2012, 16:13 GMT

    @Nampally- Are u suggesting Aparajith based on U-19 performance. Give him sometime. Its too early. Let them prove in India A tours. They have time, age on their side. May be an year and half after we can experiment with them or bring them into main team but not now based on euphoria of WC triumph. Also, Harbhajan might be struggling in English county but for Eng and Aus series its different. He's will be playing in Indian pitches if included. Also the ground in Eng county where he was expensive is not a spin friendly wicket. I am looking at it from the perspective of where he would play not how hes currently doing in Eng. Also IF he performs in India, he might get his confidence back. For a spinner hes still young and has loads of experience and aggression. Ash and Ojha can learn from him. We do perform well in India whenever we played 3 spinners. It's a cliche to say Class is permanent form is temporary but that the truth. He might reinvent himself. Ignore him at ur own peril

  • sridhar on August 28, 2012, 15:59 GMT

    Harbhajan has to emerge as the best spin bowler from in this seasons Ranji. Last season, he was in horrible form and I think even went wicketless in one Punjab game. It would be sad if either Ashwin or Ojha were dropped from the test side. As it is, he is very lucky to be picked in the T20 squad. Feel his batting, and the fact that we're playing in Sri Lanka has gone a long way in his selection in the squad as the second spinner after Ashwin. It is sad that Ojha was overlooked, but, in T20, the role of bit-part cricketers(and that is what Bhajji is) is exaggerated.

  • Ashok on August 28, 2012, 15:57 GMT

    @Ahmad Uetien: Sir, I do not understand the point you are making. This article is about Harbhajan trying to make a come back to the Indian Test team & what are his chances of doing it. You seem to have launched on a subject totally unrelated to the subject matter. From what I can vaguely make out You appear to be stating India has quality bowling but the bowling strategy is wrong. How is it even vaguely connected to the subject under discussion? Also what you are saying does not make much sense. All bowlers try their best to get the batsmen Out. No body tells them to follow to any strategy other than this end result. It does not matter whether it is McGrath, ZAK, Irfan or Yadev. If they bowl to a controlled length & direction they will get them out.Why would Dhoni ask them to bowl full tosses or short balls when the object is to get the batsmen out by bowling to the field set? Your comments are unrelated to the topic being discussed + totally defies logic & rationality!.

  • Dummy4 on August 28, 2012, 15:57 GMT

    BCCi should return Bhajji Again.............. they should remember Bhajji is a heroic character of Indian winning...

  • Raj on August 28, 2012, 15:00 GMT

    Bhajji ,concentrate on t20 world cup rather than yr personal milestone......"""""

  • Ankit on August 28, 2012, 14:42 GMT

    bhajji my friend, u r a gonner...u were in team India for so many years n do u even think of comparing urself to the likes of kumble,warne,swann...u r so inconsistent dat v can never depend on u...

  • yogi on August 28, 2012, 11:12 GMT

    Bhajji lost it, I am sorry to say this, because of his attitude. Once a human being starts believing that he is omnipotent, his character deserts him.(slapping another guy with attitude problem,Sreeshanth, is a case in point). You cannot achieve anything without good character. Sounds philosophical, yet true.

  • NLS on August 28, 2012, 11:08 GMT

    Harbhajan's time is up and Ashwin is still new (and yet to prove himself in all conditions). The fact is, Indian team still does not have spinners who can do well consistently in India and can keep things quiet playing a supporting role when travelling overseas. We have no spinners right now who can compare well with Ajmal or Swann.

  • Dummy4 on August 28, 2012, 11:05 GMT

    Desire for records and milestones dominate a sub continent cricketer. Harbhajan wants to play 100 tests though he is ineffective with the ball. Inzamam wept because he was 2 runs short of Javed Miandads run aggregate and was stumped. Why doesnt Bhajji realise his playing days are numbered with modern young spinners who are doing an excellent job? He should concentrate on Ranji and T20 for now. An Aussie or a Englishman would never like to prolong his tenure with the team.

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