Harbhajan Singh's 100th Test

Harbhajan Singh set to play 100th Test

ESPNcricinfo staff

February 21, 2013

Comments: 119 | Text size: A | A

Harbhajan Singh has picked up nine wickets in the first two Tests, Cape Town, January 1, 2011
Harbhajan Singh: "Once I get away with 100, we will see what needs to be done to play another 50-odd" © Associated Press
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Harbhajan Singh has said he is a bit nervous but he will be all right before he steps out to play against Australia on Friday, which will make him the 10th Indian to have played 100 Tests. India don't usually divulge team news before the toss, but made an exception this time. It would not have needed such confirmation in the usual course, but Harbhajan has mostly been out of the side and has played only one Test in more than 18 months, and is making a comeback into the squad.

The landmark Test will come against Harbhajan's favourite opposition, Australia, and at a venue where 12 years ago he applied the finishing touches to one of the greatest turnarounds in Test history, finishing off as joint Man of the Series against Australia. Harbhajan has taken 408 wickets from 99 Tests at an average of 32.27 and a strike-rate of 68.1.

"It's a big game," Harbhajan said. "[The previous] 99 are gone. Obviously a bit nervous but I am sure I will be fine. I have faced these situations before.

"I have gone through times when I was not doing well or when I was doing well and got too excited. These things happen. Bit nervous to start with, but I will be fine. Once I get away with 100, we will see what needs to be done to play another 50-odd. Probably I will have to work even harder."

Harbhajan said he was aware of the gap between the last few Tests, but he said he wanted to look ahead and make sure there was no such gap between the upcoming appearances. He remembered when he made his debut as a 17-year-old, in Bangalore against Australia, as just a wide-eyed kid.

"Had no clue about what was going to happen," Harbhajan said. "To be honest I was a little kid on the park. I was starstruck at looking at players. 'Wow I am playing alongside [Sachin] Tendulkar, [Javagal] Srinath, Anil Kumble. These are all my heroes. I am playing today with them.' Of course I have come a long way. At that moment I never thought I would play for India this long a time."

Harbhajan thanked his seniors profusely. "God has been very kind," he said. "Big thanks to all my team-mates and great seniors like Tendulkar, Anil Kumble, Srinath, Rahul Dravid, Laxman. They have been fantastic. I don't think I would have achieved this without their support, and would like to thank each and every one who supported me and stood by me. Just want to go out and enjoy this big match."

Harbhajan might have forgotten to mention the name of Sourav Ganguly on that list, but he came back to it and thanked him too. "I am just repeating names, but I couldn't have achieved this without their support."

Harbhajan said the seniors helped him learn to never give up. "Of course it's been a journey with a lot of ups and downs. No one can always be on the top. No one can always be down. You will have ups and downs. Not just as a cricket, but as a normal guy too.

"What I have learned from my seniors is to never give up. I have seen all these guys have done so well for India. And made themselves great cricketers, great ambassadors for the game. One thing in common was they never give up. That's what made this team successful. They showed us how to work hard. They made us believe we can win anywhere and from any situation. I am very proud I have played with these cricketers."

Harbhajan said growing as a person mattered as much as doing well as a cricket. "I have definitely grown up," he said. "I have made a few mistakes early in my career due to my extra aggression. Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn't. Of course with time I have learned a lot and am looking forward to doing even better as a person. You might play this game for 15 years or so, but what sort of person you are matters the most. Everybody wants to be a better person than he was yesterday."

The last few years haven't been easy for Harbhajan. He has had to face a lot of criticism for his ineffectiveness of late, especially after Anil Kumble's retirement. He was asked how he deals with being possibly the most criticised man among those who have taken 400 Test wickets. The reply was belligerent.

"How do I handle? I just keep quiet," Harbhajan said. "Everybody has got their opinion. Unfortunately or fortunately, people have not played up to that level. Those kind of guys, if they say I am not good enough to play for India or if I have not done enough, it doesn't matter. Who cares? What matters is what my team thinks of me, what my team-mates think of me. End of the day those guys are going to be there for you. As I have said everybody has got their opinion. Even I have got my opinion for others, it doesn't mean I am always right."

Yet there was time, and the mood, for candour. Asked what he has been working on when outside the side, Harbhajan made a mockery of all mystery-ball announcements spinners make nowadays. "Small adjustments from point to point," he said. "I have not developed any mystery ball. Chautha, paanchva kuch nahi hai. Pehla hi agar theek ho jata hai toh usme hi wicket mil jayenge [There is no fourth one or fifth one - taking on from the doosra, which literally translates to the second one. If the first one comes out all right, it will be enough to get the wickets]

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (February 24, 2013, 10:13 GMT)

He want to play play another 50-odd ? What will be his role in the playing XI, anyways not as a bowler and not as a batsman, will he play as a fielder? and he is not good enough for that too. The most over rated cricketer of the century is Harbhajan. Ohja should have been picked ahead of this guy.

Posted by philipsmgp on (February 23, 2013, 6:51 GMT)

Why so much hatred for Ashwin.... i dont get it..... i saw people writing Ashwin and ojha cannot perform outside...so has Bhaji...apart from Anil Kumble no other modern day spinner has performed outside subcontinent.Most of the people are so desperate to throw ashwin out and get harbhajan back... i mean they prefer harbhajan even if he doesnt perform just because they hate ashwin.... ridiculous

Posted by bumpu on (February 22, 2013, 11:20 GMT)

End of Day 1. All those writing Ashwin's obituary please take note. Bhajji is a shadow of his old self and has to really work hard to prove that his inclusion in this test was not just to help him achieve a personal milestone.

Posted by   on (February 22, 2013, 6:35 GMT)

Bajji did not talk a single word about Ganguly...!! Do u think , he would ve been here if Ganguly was not there...!! Sad

Posted by Rahulbose on (February 22, 2013, 2:31 GMT)

As much as Bhaji needs a comeback run, Indian test team needs him at his best even more. It is painful to watch T20 specialist like Aswin playing as the lead spinner for India. Come on Bhaji, Chak de phatte.

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (February 22, 2013, 2:27 GMT)

A FINE cricketer indeed. Representing your country in a 100 matches is NOT an easy feat, be it any format of the sport. Congratulations Bhajji. Go ahead and grab a 10 wicket haul in Chennai. I know he's not in good form nowadays but he's a fighter and I am sure he will do well in the first test. Haters and critics will keep putting you down man, but ignore them and keep giving your everything for India. Best wishes and God bless !!

Posted by satchander on (February 22, 2013, 1:14 GMT)

@Brendan Carter.."what more does Harbhajan have to do?"...Exactly, he has done enough and most Indians (those not obsessed with player's personal milestones and think purely from the good of Indian cricket) want to thank him for that by getting him to retire and keep playing back his great past performances on his television for the rest of his life. He cannot do any MORE for Indian cricket at least by playing. Let him start a spin academy or something where he can do MORE for Indian cricket. But please do not pick him any MORE in the team and ruin other spinners careers. Mate, you aussies do not have much options beyond Lyon, Beer and couple of others but we are a land of spinners and we have enough options its just that we are obsessed with past history of senior players and that is just not right...tell me mate, am I asking for MORE?

Posted by Albert_cambell on (February 22, 2013, 1:11 GMT)

Harbhajan is a highly overated spinner. I dont know when was the last time he took a wicket.

Posted by VEXXZ on (February 21, 2013, 22:48 GMT)

Murlie, Warne and Harb , three of the best SPINNERS i have ever seen . 100 test matches is no easy road to travel , so my friend ...carry on smartly.

Posted by mar2000 on (February 21, 2013, 22:43 GMT)

Foxy ole' guy , still have something left in the barrel . Hope you come good in this test HARB. 100 of anything is plenty.

Posted by Unmesh_cric on (February 21, 2013, 21:32 GMT)

Everybody knows that Bhajji is not the same bowler he once was. But this is a time to congratulate him for his achievements. He definitely has played a part in India-Australia rivalry, both with his bowling and by getting under the skin of opposition. All the best, Bhajji!

Posted by Meety on (February 21, 2013, 21:02 GMT)

On form, the Turbanator should not be within a mile of the Test team. That said, it was probably a good gamble to select him as he has a great record in India v Oz. I am torn, on the one hand, IMO he is not half the bowler he was 4 years ago, but you don't easily lose the talent when you were as good as Singh. IMO, he is the biggest threat to Oz. Anyways - good luck to him - but hopefully not too much luck in a beaten team! Ha!

Posted by Top-Spinner on (February 21, 2013, 21:00 GMT)

BCCI should award Bhajji his 100th test because that is what he is craving for anyway and boot him out permanently. Milestones are an obsession for the Indian cricketers. It is amazing how a loudmouth like Bhajji can talk himself into a squad without anything of substance to show for over the last few years. He is immature and is a bad influence among the younger cricketers. BCCI is just wasting away valuable time by not trying new and young spinners.

Posted by fr600 on (February 21, 2013, 19:16 GMT)

I'm surprised he got in without performing in the recent months whereas spinners who deserve to be on that field are watching it on TV. I guess he was selected only so that he can make it to 100 but that's not right, think in terms of country, not in terms of player.

Posted by satchander on (February 21, 2013, 19:09 GMT)

A real shame that a person's personal milestone is being put ahead of the team's interests. Harbhajan does not deserve to play test cricket since at least last 1.5 years for India given his hopeless performances. I had really hoped some other deserving / upcoming spinner like Rassol could have been given a chance to be the third spinner. But no, our selectors will ensure personal milestones are met even if it means ruining careers of other spinners. Surely we will never to be able to get back to Test #1 position with these kind of internal politics of supporting senior players inspite of bad performances.

Posted by PratUSA on (February 21, 2013, 18:47 GMT)

Wrong selection but wish him best.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 18:00 GMT)

Can't understand how Bhajji can even think of playing 50 more tests...is he not aware that he is in team only because of his gd record AT HOME against Oz...i always felt that breaking Kumble's record has always been his ultimate aim..as he said "next 200 will come soon" after taking 400 wkts...bt poor bhajji plz check ur performances before making these statements...u need a turning pitch to perform well...nd pay a little more concentration on bowling rather than batting!!so all th best..

Posted by anuajm on (February 21, 2013, 16:54 GMT)

Good on Bhajji to get to 100 test matches but he would himself admit to the fact that he has been lucky. He has been a decent bowler much throughout his career but after attaining the highs of 2001 and after, he has probably been in the team mostly due to lack of options than him being exceptional. His performance in Ranji trophy was average and if not for Ashwin's indifferent form, Bhajji would not have been part of the team. I saw the Irani trophy match and Bhajji's bowling was above average, but the amount of praise he was receiving from Sidhu and Laxman that it was a bit surprising. I would be though glad if Harbhajan can get to the kind of form he demonstrated earlier in his career, Dhoni has played a trick here. Harbhajan is a confidence player and by telling him upfront that he is part of the team and will play his 100th test match, he might have just done the trick for Bhajji. Hope it works, but i believe this might be the last test series for Bhajji..

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 16:39 GMT)

i bet!! he is not going to perform 2mrw.. :D

Posted by ThatsJustCricket on (February 21, 2013, 16:13 GMT)

Liked that one comment from Bhajji that if your stock delivery comes out well that would be enough to get wickets. All this thipe about mystery balls being manufactured every other day does not amount to anything on the field. The age old saying about off spinners is, the line is optional but the length is mandatory. Ashwin, in particular, would do well to remember that.

Posted by ProdigyA on (February 21, 2013, 16:05 GMT)

Read Bhajji interview with Sriram Veera and I have to say thanks for doing an amazing job Sriram. You have used this opportunity to ask the right questions that so many of our fans wish to ask him and know why does something that he shouldnt be doing like the leg stump line for example or even not using the doosra more often. I have seem him on TV many many times but they just waste time asking stupid questions.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 14:46 GMT)

come on bhaji .....show your strengths

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 14:44 GMT)

hi friends..... i have read most of the comments mentioned above.... in INDIAN CRICKET HISTORY only 9 players payed 100 tests and harbhajan will be 10th and only 3 bowlers get 400 marks and out of 2073 tests were already played and only 9 bowlers can cross 400 wickets.................. SO WHAT ELSE THE PEOPLE WANTS FROM A PLAYER..........Ashwin is a good bowler but for shorter format in this version he is about harbhajan's performance in ranji trophy......everyone knows how good the pitches are there in ranjy trophy.........60% of ranji matches ended in dam draw just because of soooo good pitches. So i think it is not fair to criticise harbhajan soo badly. Lets support him .........

Posted by wolf777 on (February 21, 2013, 14:37 GMT)

100th Test if he is in the playing eleven...

Posted by torsha on (February 21, 2013, 14:35 GMT)

Good luck Bhajji. We all are with you. Ignore the haters..

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 14:32 GMT)

Some people started criticizing Ashwin because bhajji is selected, remember Ashwin is the fastest indian to get 50 wickets, bhajji is included only bcoz aussies are vulnerable against him in the past, so dont come to conclusion that bhajji is in prime form, so many non performers are in the team for the past three years and they are still in the team, ashwin had one bad series against england in home that too he got 14 wickets, now people started calling for ashwin head, coming to the overseas performances, tell me one spinner who performed great in australia, is it kumble, bhajji, murali, etc, just check the average of them in australia, and for your info, ashwin will play at any cost, ojha (harsh) or jadeja will be dropped, and some people talking abt csk players in indian squad, why cant they agree that csk players are also from india only, playing 11 will be sehwag, vijay, pujara, sachin, kohli, dhoni, ashwin, bhajji, b kumar, ishant, ojha/jadeja

Posted by pritpalpabla on (February 21, 2013, 14:32 GMT)

Thank god, Bhajji got selected for this series, now make it large

Posted by king_julien on (February 21, 2013, 14:30 GMT)

Harbhajan Singh in a recent interview On India loss to England, " We should not always blame the pitches for out bad performance" In same interview on his performance, "Domestic pitches do not give the spinners any advantage and even on the last day, they (I) struggled to get wickets. Sometimes the work you've done in your bowling won't show in the results. That could be a reason why the number of wickets I've taken is not in the high 30s or 40s(he picked 16), but I think I've bowled well for Punjab."

Different yardsticks for other players and different yardstick for self..... comparing 16 wickets to 40s!!!!!......What an attitude....

Posted by realfan on (February 21, 2013, 14:09 GMT)

ASHWIN and HARBAJAN may cost the team another series..... yeah i mean it.... harbajan with all his experience is useless.. ashwin with his so called youth and mystery balls is no great than harbajan.......i hope harbajan is picked just to make his 100th test and thats enough..... and i hope ashwin learns what line and length is.. because thats what important in test , not any mystery balls.....

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 13:36 GMT)

Worst selection in the end.... will be a big blow for India at Chennai... Who gives answer if he fails.... (In fact it is obvious).... You should not take a chance on a series starter to give a player to play his 100th test....

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

No reason not to play Bhaji, His experience counta for a lot. Punter had impeccable form coming into the SA match but it counted for nothing. In the end when it comes to Test cricket the real worth of the team is how much people are looking forward to it and this match with India is causing more excitement that the fight for the number one spot in England.

Reputations will count for nothing. I'm certain there will be many surprises as this series unfolds. Lyon and Harbhajan my yet surprise the doubters, or maybe not. Can't wait for it to start. Australia need to bat first and put on a good opening partnership. All the best to both teams. And I'm surprised to say that after the recent DRS howlers, it will be relaxing to not have it for this series.

Posted by ambujkumar on (February 21, 2013, 13:17 GMT)

Punjabi Lion Bhajji will make his mark and win the game for his team...i have full faith in his ability and potential...

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 12:46 GMT)

I want to make one thing clear. I am NOT saying that Bhaji is better than Ashwin or vice versa. The fact remains that India, currently lacks a good spinner. Let alone Ajmal's calibre. Not even Panwesar's or Swann's class!

Neither do we have pacer of Anderson's calibre!

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 12:41 GMT)

@spinkingKK on (February 21, 2013, 10:50 GMT). You said: ... "I don't know why people say Ashwin doesn't bowl well...."

Here is the answer: (a) He can't bowl to the field, most of the times (b) He can't stop bowling one or two bad delivery in every over (c) He can't avoid periodically bowling 'almost wide' outside the leg-stump (d) He often does't walk the talk (Remember he 'talking' about a 'new' delivery, which he was planning to unravel during a series --which never made its appearance. Big talk doesn't help anyone, big results do)

Even if he develop new variations, I have a suggestion. If he bowls his basic deliveries well, he doesnt have to try all the 'fancy', but ineffective, variations.

In effect, he is currently in the team only as a batsman (and did better than many regulars). As a batsman, is he better than Tiwari? Or, even Yuvi, who is out of favour for lack of form/fitness (by the way, Yuvi is more effective as a bowler than Ashwin)

SpnkingKK, Do you want hear more?

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 12:25 GMT)

I do not understand Dhoni's logic, when he can back Rohit for so long inspite of he rarely performed against higher ranked Oppositions, why is he not doing the same with proven match winner Bajji, my point is not persist with player for ever but put your arm around him and give him confidence: Dhoni was distroying the team as he is not getting on well with Gouti, Sehwag, Bajji etc: m Last test bajji was bowled 20 overs only where as Ashwin & Ohja were given 40 overs each, though any of them neither picked wickets nor did seem to pick up wickets...Forget about Ashwin or Ohja they hardly seem confortable overseas tours so far........Even out-of-form harbajan is far far better than these two current INDIAN spinners as Bajji is GENUINE spinner compared to others ASHWIN: Good for 50 overformat & T20 ony, coming to Ohja is consistent with line but lacks variations of TEST cricket

Posted by mano.mcse on (February 21, 2013, 12:23 GMT)

yeah i agree with you Rajesh pal....definitely he'll do

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 12:22 GMT)

Success is counted the sweetest for those who have been away from it for a while...as Harbhajan is hungry to make a come back and not for a man like Ashwin who is their God knows & even every child knows in India...But above all it would have been better to keep Harbhajan as one spinner and Guys like Rasool or Unadkat could have been included in place of Ashwin the batter...Good luck to Bhajji...He is a fighter nd will be back....

Posted by SasiGladi on (February 21, 2013, 12:13 GMT)

Mr.Bhaji prove your ability in the 100th test and then express your happiness about your come back, your point of nervousness is agreed...But other comments looks too early....hope your happiness continues all the best....I remember chennai test match against aussy boy thats a great series comes to my mind all the time.......

Posted by Suraj.asnani on (February 21, 2013, 12:09 GMT)

Bhajji always deserved to be in the team.A class bowler from the starting and always supported by ganguly.The bowler who picks wickets on bouncy foreign wickets always deserves a place in the playin 11...well done bhajji...enjoy the moment

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 11:42 GMT)

lots of talk here about who will be dropped, the report on bhajji's inclusion is not a guaranteed one. wait and see, though the feeling is that vijay an ashwin will play. playing jadeja as an allrounder and 4 bowlers seems the way to go. in which case the will be: viru, vijay, pujara, sachin, virat, jadeja, dhoni, ashwin, bhuvneshwar, ishant, ojha

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 11:42 GMT)

400+ test wickets, he has been excellent servant of indian cricket without any doubt, best spinner after anil kumble, bishen singh bedi india has produced. but past 2 years he has been way too off colour, every cricketer goes through rough phase, but harbhajan must make this recall count, if he doesnt perform in this series, there is no easy recall for him in near future. he must make his performance talk and not his mouth. hope he creates some landmark in his landmark test

Posted by goindiago2012 on (February 21, 2013, 11:31 GMT)

Firstly, well done to Bhajji, but honestly, I think he's over the hill. His domestic form hasn't been extraordinary to justify his place in the XI, and his inclusion is only because of India's lack of quality spin at this point. Ojha, after impressing vs NZ, was hammered by England and isn't impressing many. R Ashwin is a better batsman than bowler, which is saying something considering he's supposed to be the lead spinner. Against AUS on turning pitches without quality spinners is a lost advantage for India. Just hoping Harbhajan can come up with some magic against AUS, then quietly fade back into the distance.

Posted by QingdaoXI on (February 21, 2013, 11:26 GMT)

I think Bhajji will make big resurgence and will back with the bang in this series hoping 30+ wikects for bhajji and Ojha each. We dont need Ashwin and Jadeja in test team, they are better in ODI. India should play Ishant, B.Kumar, Bhajji and Ojha as our four Bowlers and Viru, Dhawan, Pujara, Rahane, tendulkar and Kohli as batsmen and one Dhoni as non-perfoming test captain.

Posted by Ozcricketwriter on (February 21, 2013, 11:23 GMT)

For someone who so dominated a series, taking 32 wickets in 3 tests, when nobody else took more than 3, he certainly has fallen from grace since then. 2000/01 was so early in his career, when he was so young, that it just feels like he could have done so much more between then and now. Sure, he has taken 400 wickets, but he has just stumbled over the line somewhat. Luckily for Bhajji, India's selectors are going in with a lot of hunches here, picking a team that tend to be good against Australia, even those who might not be in the best form, such as Bhajji. Congratulations on getting to your 100th test, but I fear that there may not be too many more.

Posted by KingAjmal on (February 21, 2013, 11:18 GMT)

It looks to me India are more interested in making breaking records. Quantity is nothing.

Posted by stk4191 on (February 21, 2013, 11:13 GMT)

not able to under stand this fixation with vijay as opener... he is a good hard working batsman.... the guy is all at sea agianst seam bowling as well as genuine fast bowling on 1st day pitch.. neither he has the temperament of a test opener to see sessions through when the pitch is a bit green.. he sould be played in the middle order rather than ruin his career being an opener.. he can perform much better than the rainas and the yuvrajs in the middle order in a test match

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 11:00 GMT)

Harbhajan in his 50th test took 10 for ag SL in Ahmedabad... so I think he will continue the same trend also here in 100th Landmark test

Posted by JoieDeVivre on (February 21, 2013, 10:57 GMT)

Hopefully the decision hasn't been taken emotionally or because of this excellent record at home against Oz. Whatever the reason this is a genuine cause for concern for Indian Cricket because our spin bowling or for that matter the bowling cupboard looks empty and no signs of any bowler knocking on the doors. Having said that Harbhajan is a slightly better pick that R Ashwin at least with Ashwin's recent showing against England, so let's hope he does well, at the same I just hope he doesn't do too much of talking like "we will show Oz how to play spin", these comments more often then not come back to bite you.

Posted by Thyagu5432 on (February 21, 2013, 10:51 GMT)

The ease with which the local lads played Bhajji in Ranji and Irani, doesn't give him much chance. The only thing that is in his favour is that except Clarke and Watson, Aussies do not seem to like spin. Even then it is not guaranteed that Bhajji will get a handful of wickets, if he can so can Ashwin or Ojha or even Jadeja. So my feeling is that Bhajji has limited chance to succeed but if he does fail, that is it, he can cremate his career.

But what is this about the playing 11 getting announced a day before? Looks like a psychological game. Aussies will be heaving a sigh of relief that Bhajji is playing and then Dhoni will come up with his master stroke, which is not playing Bhajji in the 11, and catch the Aussies by surprise.

Posted by spinkingKK on (February 21, 2013, 10:50 GMT)

I don't know why people say Ashwin doesn't bowl well. He has been performing exceptionally well. When an opposition plays the spin bowling well, we just blame the spin bowler. We must learn to give respect to the opposition and give credit to them. There is nothing wrong in recalling Harbhajan. He is a fierce competetor and special character. However, it shouldn't be at the expense of Ashwin. Ashwin and Ojha are India's prime spinners at the moment. Ofcourse, we would like to find a sure match winner like Hirwani(when he started). But, he is not coming. We have to try to develop Ashwin and Ojha further. If it is a round turner, then Harbhajan can be given a chance. Regardless of whom we select, we are going to play a largely unchanged batting line-up which just goes about the motion of getting all-out within 300. So, I don't think India can win this series. Sorry to say, another humiliating defeat is well on the cards. Hopefully, Vijay will play and bring some energy into the batting.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 10:48 GMT)

I thing Harbhajan achieved a lot he deserved the chance to play. Playing 100th test is a great achievement i hope he will rattle the aussies.

Posted by stk4191 on (February 21, 2013, 10:48 GMT)

I ve been waiting for this.. he has been hugely under-bowled in the last series.. he is the only geniune off spinner india has at the moment.... the rest (read aswin) is a genuine slow straight bowler whose top delivery is an off spinner.. cant expect him to win test matches for india or control one end to put pressure on the batsmen... its important that the captain makes bhajji bowl to an attacking field for long spells.. hopefully he ll get his rhythm back and start taking wickets atleast from second test onwards...

Posted by Paddy789 on (February 21, 2013, 10:47 GMT)

Muneeb_Dawood I completely agree with you, One cant bypass the country-mate and put team-mate ahead, its the country that you play for !! Also it will be intresting and in fact good for Indian Cricket that Bhajji and Ashwin have to compete each other for the place in playing XI, Honestly of late Ashwin was little off color though he was good with the bat but its his bowling that will keep him in the team.Not getting a chance to play infront of home crowd should make him work hard for the next chance!! He is an asset and should be back with flyng colors....

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 10:43 GMT)

Never expected Harbhajan to forget the name of Dada.... how can he do that ?.. Dada gave him life..! people do forget the past and this is a perfect example. Very sad.

Posted by AshishPant on (February 21, 2013, 10:38 GMT)

Maybe Bhajji is not as effective as he once used to be, maybe he is not as sharp as he once used to be, but can we all just for once not criticize him and just congratulate him on this great achievement. Not a lot of players get to play a 100 tests. Congratulations bhajji on such a fabulous career. your 32 wickets in the 2001 series are still fresh in our minds and so are the ricky ponting dismissals. Best of luck for your future.

Posted by I_AM_INDIA_SUPPORTER on (February 21, 2013, 10:36 GMT)

Definitely Dhoni will not remove ashwin from Indian squad...Dhoni will pickup Bhajji instead of B Kumar for tomorrow's game.He will select harbhajan for tomorrow's game for his seniortiy in team and to complete 100th test match.If Bhajji didn't do well then 100th match will be the last for him. Dhoni's squad for tomorrow's game. 1.M Vijay 2. V Sehwag 3.C Pujara 4.SR Tendulkar 5.V kohli 6.R Jadeja 7.MS Dhoni 8.R Ashwin 9.H Singh 10.P Ojha 11. I Sharma Dhoni will include all chennai super KINGS in the team and once in a blue moon I sharma.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 10:33 GMT)

lets face it....bhajji is in coz of ashwin's poor form.......he was lucky to get 3 or 4 wickets in the irani trophy and this guy acts as if he has EARNED his place!!!!waiting for warner to smash bhajji with a switch hit.....!

Posted by Kapil_Choudhary on (February 21, 2013, 10:33 GMT)

How is there nothing mentioned anywhere on cricinfo about who might be dropped for Harbhajan? I am guessing Ashwin but Ojha and Jadeja (which would mean full 5-bowlers with Ashwin and harbhajan at 7 and 8) are also definite candidates...and India played 4 spinners including Jadeja just recently - are they doing that again and picking just one seamer?????

Posted by meanmen on (February 21, 2013, 10:32 GMT)

I hope Bhajji fails and fails miserably. His 100th should be his last. Bhajji's selection is pure sympathy and nothing else. The only worry is that Australians have the ability to make his selection look brilliant...

Posted by satishchandar on (February 21, 2013, 10:25 GMT)

Who iwll be the one who misses out? Certainly Ojjha should be playing.. Ashwin dropped? If not, Are India going to play 5 bowlers with Ashwin at 7 with Jadeja missing out?

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 10:20 GMT)

This is a backward step. Surely India is not going to play three spinners and jadeja. If they are not then the person who will be dropped is Ashwin. I dont think he deserves that, particularly at his home ground. And forget the sentimentality , what has Harbhajan done in recent times to get back into the side, just because Potning was his dummy a decade ago? I think Harbhajan is now well exposed and well analysed . He does not bowl a doosra as actively as he used to do earlier. Even if he does well on a helpful surface against a shaky opposition what does that prove? If Ashwin is developing he should be given an extended run. Why cant we learn from the australians, there is no space for sentiment in competitive sport . Ramanujam sridhar

Posted by GRINDIA on (February 21, 2013, 10:06 GMT)

Harbhajan with ojha would be best spin attack India can have for now. I think sreeshant and ishant might take care of pace battery well rather than new comer bhuvneshwar kumar. Jadeja is handy player and can be used as an all rounder. He got batting skills and have some promising bowling in limited over matches. My 11 would be 1. A Rahane, 2. Virender Sehwag, 3. Cheteshwar Pujara, 4. Sachin Tendulkar, 5. Virat Kohli, 6. MS Dhoni, 7. Ravindra Jadeja, 8. Harbhajan Singh, 9. S Sreeshant, 10. Ishant Sharma, 11. Pragyan Ojha

Posted by AB_DeVilliers on (February 21, 2013, 10:04 GMT)

The last paragraph shows what a small-minded person this guy comes across as. You don't care what people say, fair enough, but to say you don't play for them and just for your team is again a sign that you are bog average. Boss, you play for your country and for the people of India and it matters what they think of you because you represent their pride when you win or loose. Seems as though you have a bog average mentality as well, shame.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 9:52 GMT)

I congratulate Bhajji for playing his 100th test tomorrow, he also should not forget that he is just 26 wickets short of Kapil Dev's record of 434 wickets, and he should try and break the record in this series only, if he could do that we will win this series. Come on Bhajji Chak De Phatte, India is waiting...

Posted by grizzle on (February 21, 2013, 9:51 GMT)

Just goes to show how bare our spin cupboard is. Indeed, how bare our bowling cupboard is.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 9:49 GMT)

It should be an exciting series. India's spin vs Oz fast/swing bowling. Good luck to India.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 9:48 GMT)

This article is about Harbhajan, but suddenly the comments seem to be Ashwin vs Harbhajan. He might be the only 'non great' bowler in the 400+ club but that is still a huge feat. Even the best bowler going around today - has played test cricket for nine years and still has 80 odd to get before he catches up. Given our spin stocks - a bench of Mishra, Chawla, Rahul Sharma, Jadeja - only Ojha looks anywhere near test class when going gets tough. Harbhajan might yet have some bite left. Ashwin has had a fab start to his test career, a sound bat, an awful fielder and one of the few success stories to come through from IPL. But, all his success has been in home tests against opposition like WI, NZ and one nervous ENG team in the first test - he's a work in progress. For the sake of India let us hope they both feed off the competition and keep each other on their toes ..

Posted by mano.mcse on (February 21, 2013, 9:47 GMT)

Bhaiji will prove his perform in this series...if without bhajji team will struggle in bowling side... may be batting side is being good

Posted by div09 on (February 21, 2013, 9:45 GMT)

The team should be 1. Sehwag 2. Dhawan 3. Pujara 4. Tendulkar 5. Kohli 6. Dhoni 7. Jadeja 8. Ashwin 9. Harbhajan 10. Bhuvi 11. Ishant

Instead of Dhawan....y r v not selecting Abhinav Mukund, he is a good young cricketer. After tendulkar retires i would get in rahane at no.4.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 9:41 GMT)

Giving bhajji chance ahead of ashwin will be the biggest mistake. chennai is ashwins home ground. bhajji lacks consistancy n variations which ashwin posseses. i dont expect any heroics from bhajji. australia will b happy if bhajji in playing eleven. dont ride on past glory....

Posted by greatshinwari on (February 21, 2013, 9:41 GMT)

it is for sure that india will with 3 front line spinners and may be also include jadeja as the 4th spinner...wat a cheap act from india...if they have real fighting spirit then they must not include more spinners ....INDIA want to get reveng of 4-0...its for sure that they cant beat the aussies with such margin...aussies still my favt for the series.....go aussie's go...

Posted by VJ_Cricket on (February 21, 2013, 9:40 GMT)

Do not agree with cooments saying Bhajji's comback / revival and Ashwin's end of story.

more like bhajji's farewell series.

It was batsmen who lost us the englad test series. Got to give credit where it belongs, english played better than us, and applied themselves better to the conditions.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 9:39 GMT)

The captain should show confidence in this confidence bowler. He should not be treated as he was in Mumbai against England a few months back. Best of luck to Bhajji and the team.

Posted by Vinoda11 on (February 21, 2013, 9:37 GMT)

bhajji is our attacking Bowler.he should be bowling to batsmen's off stump.and comeback to batesmen's middle Stump.he is more dangerous bowler.

Posted by raks_pace on (February 21, 2013, 9:32 GMT)

Harbhajan was a successful bowler only when he played along with Kumble. only 2001 series was a exception. Kumble with his masterful, impecable bowling always made sure that he kept the pressure on opposition, which in turn allowed Harbhajan pick up wickets easily on other end. Ever since Kumble retired in 2009, Bhajji has been pathetic. Within 18 months of Kumble's retirement Bhajji was dropped from Indian team around mid of 2011 for his poor form. Hope Bhajji repeats 2001 heroics and leads Indian bowling from front. Team India needs senior like him for next 18 months to 2 years to guide them during this transition phase.

Posted by VJ_Cricket on (February 21, 2013, 9:31 GMT)

Team :-

Viru, Dhawan, Pujara, Sachin, Kohli, Ashwin, Dhoni, Bhajji, Ishant, Kumar, Ojha.

I wud prefer Viru to bat in middle order, he will more effective.

What u ppl think?

Posted by Vishal63 on (February 21, 2013, 9:31 GMT)

India should go in with this squad for the first test: 1, Shikhar Dhawan, 2. Virender Sehwag, 3. Cheteshwar Pujara, 4. Sachin Tendulkar, 5. Virat Kohli, 6. MS Dhoni, 7. Ravindra Jadeja/Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 8. Harbhajan Singh, 9. Ravichandran Ashwin, 10. Ishant Sharma, 11. Pragyan Ojha

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 9:26 GMT)

second innings of Bhaji's career is going to start as it started for him from the previous Aus Team

Posted by Vinoda11 on (February 21, 2013, 9:24 GMT)

i think kohli should be drop.and rahane should be play.and include bhajji,ashwin,jadeja.ashwin

Posted by Sarangarajan on (February 21, 2013, 9:22 GMT)

Shewag has been taken in again on"reputaion" So is Harbhajan now on "reputation".What they have done worthwhile after they were dropped from the team. There cannot be more absurd selection than these two choices.Both these are going to be an emabrrassment for the team when they get exposed ruthlessely by the Aussies.Long live"Iindian Selection mindset"- bereft of logic and coomnsense.

Posted by Ranta on (February 21, 2013, 9:18 GMT)

Few years back it seemed impossible that we ever will see 3 spinners ever again. Guess what Dhoni had other plans. Though I think playing three spinners is not good idea. As most spinners like bowling long spells. Plus two if ashwin & bhajji both play will be off spinners. so where is the variety. If the idea was to play 3 spinners, Should have picked Amit Mishra. But if they are playing 3 main spinners can only mean there will be no jadeja if so Rahane will finally be making his long awaited test debut. Interesting to see how it all works out. I hope just two spinners are played & Rhane in place of jadeja.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 9:16 GMT)

no doubt bhajji is a great bowler, but we can not go by history. ashwin has one series failure at home. but that should not hold against him. ashwin and bhajji both are out of form.. need to choose one between these two... others should be jadeja,ishant,ojha, bhuvanesh

Posted by boston_pride on (February 21, 2013, 9:14 GMT)

This is the problem with Indians... they are way too short-sighted in passing judgements... Not so long ago, Ashwin was the getting quickly to 50 test wickets... One bad series against Eng and ppl want him dropped. Bhajji, on the other hand, had an horror 2 years and did nothing of note in domestic cricket and yet ppl feel he should be in the team in place of Ashwin... Unbeleivable!!

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 9:13 GMT)

Hope bhajji will repeat the past (Vs Aussies) performance.. Good Luck

Posted by satishchandar on (February 21, 2013, 9:11 GMT)

@srikanths : Athletism is a factor in selection of the team, almost half of the team would find bench and we can't play with 5-6 players in a game.. And, it won't be last game in Ashwin's career. Bhajji fared even bad than Ashwin for two full years in home and also away inspite of his huge experience with the team over a decade. If he can make a comeback without a single performance which would tell you "He is back", then why not Ashwin who has a almost similar record in domestic circuit? I am certainly not saying Ashwin should be our No.1 spinner but he is as good as if not better than Bhajji. As of Bhajji saying "Once I get away with 100, we will see what needs to be done to play another 50-odd.", he is lucky to get his 99th and 100th ones. If he need to egt next 50, he should be luckier by 25 times atleast.

Posted by mehulmatrix on (February 21, 2013, 9:11 GMT)

On what basis is he being selected? He was average in Ranji/Irani Cup. Aren't there players who have done well and can be given a chance? His captaincy was timid in Irani Cup by not giving mumbai a target of close to 450 on the last day. Yes, he did well against aussies, but that was long time back. I dont think he'll be more than average in the series.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 9:08 GMT)

end of Ashwin and beginning of Bhajjis new career

Posted by sandy_bangalore on (February 21, 2013, 9:05 GMT)

Hope this overrated bowler retires after his 100th test.

Posted by bharathgk1 on (February 21, 2013, 9:05 GMT)

When Australia named its playing XI 2 days before the match they seemed to have fired the first salvo.However India Iam delighted to hear have also named their XI.Normally the Indian team is named just before the toss.Lets hope Bhajji repeats his 2001 heroics

Posted by ravi2047 on (February 21, 2013, 9:03 GMT)

Is the opportunity being given to him just to complete the landmark? Azharuddin played 99 before all those controversies around him.

Posted by AB_DeVilliers on (February 21, 2013, 9:02 GMT)

To have the record that he has, for a spinner who predominantly plays in the sub-continent, in my opinion he's nothing more than bog average. Also, he has done nothing to warrant selection and I predict an average game. Harbajan the bog average spinner - if you disagree, look at his record. Cheers

Posted by ningthoujam on (February 21, 2013, 8:58 GMT)

Whats the source of this news ? What abt the remaining 10 ?

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 8:54 GMT)

@ Aditya Mandalemula its joint man of the series .... mathew hayden and harbhajan singh

Posted by Haleos on (February 21, 2013, 8:49 GMT)

Goodluck bhajji. Prove it that you are a much better bowler than one overrated batsman turned spinner who is supposed to be the best but effectively is mediocere.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 8:47 GMT)

We Indians, as usual, are just being sentimental, to let him play his 100th test! The inclusion is not based on merits; but it is up to him to make it count... and perhaps even prolong his career.

I can see one possible positive outcome: Ashwin will try his best to be effective, instead of trying out his useless experimentations! I am assuming, both will play. Since both are off spinners, the team may need Ojha too. If Jadeja is also in, we will have Bhajji, Ashwin, Ojha, Jadeja, and part time of Sehwag, and perhaps Raina too. One can imagine, what kind of a pitch it is going to be.

Posted by tickcric on (February 21, 2013, 8:46 GMT)

Bhajji will do well in this Test.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 8:45 GMT)

India spills doom why go on past reputation! This proves we are a nation obsessed with records. He will be nothing more than a passenger

Posted by balajeev on (February 21, 2013, 8:43 GMT)

It seems like you don't have to do anything these days to make a comeback to the Indian team.

Posted by Haleos on (February 21, 2013, 8:41 GMT)

Thats a rare announcement from India. We never disclose our teams to anyone. Not even to the players who are playing till the toss. How can dhoni release such classified info. LOL. Jokes apart if overrated Ashwin fails in this test he should be given a rest of atleast an year.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 8:41 GMT)

that's good news in regards of bhajji but it will not suit the lineup until ashwin is left out. my xi viru,dhawan,pujara,sachin,virat,dhoni,jadeja,bhajji,bhuvneshwar.ishantand ojha

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 8:40 GMT)

The problem with Three spinners in playing XI is one of them will always be underbowled and on current form it could be either Harbhajan or Ashwin.. Ojha will be the bowler who will bowl bulk.

Posted by boehj on (February 21, 2013, 8:40 GMT)

Very smart move Team India.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 8:38 GMT)

Just a small correction. It is joint Man of the Match, not joint Man of the Series.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 8:37 GMT)

Extremely wrong even if he takes up 10 wickets in the match. He has been one of the greatest bowlers India has produced, granted. But what form has he been in in the last domestic season? He was dropped from the side after the 2nd England test, performed nowhere and has been brought back. Wrong signals are being sent to the young cricketers aspiring to get in the team.

Posted by ravi-1967 on (February 21, 2013, 8:37 GMT)

Welcome back Turbonator and hope you do well and India starts on a winning note and plays well in the series. Is this Sachin's last test in Chepauk and can he pull it off. Chepauk is his fav ground statistically.

9 matches, 876 Runs, 5 100s and 3 50s

Posted by naansari on (February 21, 2013, 8:36 GMT)

Congratulations to Bhajj for playing his 100th test and hope he will perrform well against his favourtive opposition team in this series.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 8:36 GMT)

what is the playing XI???

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 8:36 GMT)

Is India playing with three spinners?

Posted by SNREDDY24081973 on (February 21, 2013, 8:35 GMT)

GRATE COME BACK from tiger from punjab, he will make sure austrailians are dusted in the chepak.... You are true legend indian cricket. Wish you best of luck TIGER from punjab....

Posted by Romieo on (February 21, 2013, 8:32 GMT)

very good news congrats bhajji

Posted by AnilJaiswal on (February 21, 2013, 8:32 GMT)

good move to put Australia in pressure. May Harbhajan not get too many wickets but when he will bowl all the batsmen will play him with extra effort which can go against them.

Posted by KnightTemplar on (February 21, 2013, 8:32 GMT)

G8 News for india.... :) :)

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 8:29 GMT)

looks like we are playing 3 spinners

Posted by VandipPrajwal on (February 21, 2013, 8:28 GMT)

Congrtzzz Bhajji ! All the best :)

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 8:26 GMT)

Chennai would be the 100th and his final test match of his career

Posted by   on (February 21, 2013, 8:20 GMT)

With all respect to Harbhajan, why was he included now? He played awfully in the Ranji and didn't look like he was good enough at times to even crack the state lineup, let alone the national squad

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