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'Harbhajan, Ojha must in Tests' - Ganguly

ESPNcricinfo staff

February 21, 2014

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Pragyan Ojha and Harbhajan Singh had a tough day, Sri Lanka v India, 2nd Test, SSC, 1st day, July 26, 2010
India need spinners Pragyan Ojha and Harbhajan Singh to win more Tests overseas, says Sourav Ganguly © Live Images
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Former India captain Sourav Ganguly has said India need spinners Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha in the team to win more Tests overseas, and attributed the losses in New Zealand to the spinners, not the fast bowlers.

"I don't think pacers are a reason for India's defeat," Ganguly told PTI. "But it's our spin department where we're lacking. Dhoni has to think about his spin department. Jadeja has no variation. We also need to bring back Harbhajan Singh. He has good record overseas. Both of them [Harbhajan and Ojha] are a must especially in Test cricket."

Jadeja failed to impress in the two Tests in New Zealand, with three wickets to his name in 89 overs at an average of 85.66. Ashwin, on the other hand, struggled in the five ODIs preceding the Tests, picking only one wicket in 44 overs at an average of 227. Ashwin has an outstanding home record in Tests, but hasn't fared too well overseas, taking nine wickets at 74.77.

Ojha's last Test was the second Test against West Indies in Mumbai, where he took 10 wickets in a Man-of-the-Match performance, and was the second-highest wicket-taker in the series behind Ashwin. However, he did not get a game in the two-Test series in South Africa and was not picked for the subsequent New Zealand Tests.

"I'm highly surprised at Ojha's exclusion," Ganguly said. "He has the ability to take five wickets. If you see his career, he got five wickets in Mumbai on the first day, in the same conditions where Ashwin got three. He has got the variety to take wickets."

Harbhajan last played a Test against Australia in March 2013 and was dropped after the second Test of the four-match series. In the Ranji Trophy this season, he played six matches and picked up 23 wickets at an average of 26.60, including a five-for against Odisha. He also led Rest of India against Karnataka in the Irani Cup.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by AravindVatsal82 on (February 25, 2014, 11:46 GMT)

I partially agree with sourav, team india need genuine spinner who can turn the ball of the turf,ideally ojha would be better prospect if he plays enough,with jadeja on the other hand has evolved as a supporting bowler holding other end he is less a batsman,but with this combination team dhawan,vijay,pujara,kholi,rahane,ishant,shami,3rd seemer-need lott of nurturing(Zaheer fitness).spinner jadeja,Ojha & wc dhoni if he is captain OR karthik... cons:sharma needs lot of match practice to prove @ test level & which position he is more comfortable with,a genuine all rounder to fit ideally in the fast bowler slot would help @ overseas conditions..picking 5 bowlers is must to get 20 wkt,considering the series in aus & Eng,,,for me Harbhajan has finished his good spells with india keeping in mind the future of INDIAN test Team & to retain No 1 position for long time.

Posted by Naresh28 on (February 24, 2014, 13:31 GMT)

Its GOOD that there is some level of debate on combinations in the bowling department. Lets NOT FORGET that there are some loopholes in the BATTING as well. Clearly the majority of fans are saying that if the last four test team selections are failing it is time to ring in the changes. We are losing in the TEST matches so the focus should be here. Some players are only suited to the shorter versions. Its also GOOD that now we have ex-cricketers, writers, fans - all calling for changes. NOW its upto BCCI, selectors and team management to get things going again.

Posted by rnkbornfree on (February 23, 2014, 19:28 GMT)

i agree with him but ojha should be given more chances as in he is even better then ashwin in india and senior players like sehwag,gambhir and zaheer should have full support from bcci as in players like rohit,rahane,dhawan play well in patches after champions throphy they never performed well and jadeja ashwin dont fit for test and odis they are t20 material and ishant sharma should play more ranjis as in his line and length is never right he is just lucky at times to get wickets umesh yadav ,aron,kamran khan should be given chances...They are not helping kamran khan who played major role for RR in ipl warne picked him and he performed but bcci dont want to see this players

Posted by   on (February 23, 2014, 3:28 GMT)

In the history of indian cricket this is the first time it is happening that a captain's decision is being considered as more weight during selection process finally we are ending up with selecting all the players from ipl chennai team and by doing so we are ending up the career of all good players like yuvi, shewag, gambhir, Pathan etc. something is messing up here no seniors are allowed into the team this question should have been asked.

Posted by x_lnc on (February 22, 2014, 17:09 GMT)

Mr. Ganguly Ojha is ok but not Harbhajan anymore

Posted by thinkgood on (February 22, 2014, 15:00 GMT)

Dada is wrong. Ojha and Bhajji - just as Rohit Sharma have become IPL-only performers. They have become professionals whose eyes are on money now. We need younger talent in all department of the game - batting, bowling (pace and spin) and middle order all rounders. Jadeja was taken ahead of Ojha because of jaddu's ability to bat better than Ojha. That comes in handy. But Jadeja, M Vijay , Ishant and R Sharma are not capitalizing on their captains faith in them. They seem to be taking their place in the playing XI for granted. That is bad. Bhajji and Ojha are in a different league now. They are NOT in the mood to play for the country anymore.IPL has sucked them in just as it did with R Sharma,Gambhir , Sehwag and Zaheer.

Posted by cric_gates on (February 22, 2014, 14:17 GMT)

Dada is absolutely right. See!! what Lyon is doing for Aus. We need spin bowlers who can complement our fast bowlers by taking wickets when they are tired.India did well overseas in last decade because of this. Not completely relying on our fast bowlers.Dhoni must undetstand this and must bring Bhajji and Ojha. Check Bhajji records in SA in 2010 tours.I am totally disappointed with Aswinl.Some of us had criticized Zak for playing casually and throwing his wicket. Can any one explain me role of Jadeja who have 3 triple domestic centuries to his name and threw his wicket in both the test agaist Nz.

Posted by   on (February 22, 2014, 13:28 GMT)

What DADA says makes lots of sense. Indian fast bowlers have not been the killers in past and even the current pacers are not that efficient. In past spinners have proved more successful. Non-Asian teams have weakness against spin. For Indian team to play matches without a recognised spinner is absurd . This is a hard way to learn what is obvious.

Posted by   on (February 22, 2014, 13:11 GMT)

Sourav is right in suggesting Ojha's inclusion .We wonder as to why the Team Mgt needs to be given the luxury of Reserve players at all,just only to warm the benches in the dug yard! Ojha was under-utilised compared to his proven potentials.

But I differ with Dada on his views to include Bhajji.His lacklustre performances in the chances as provided to him in Competitive Cricket, before his exclusion does not warrant his inclusion now.To me Bhajji is just a spent force as of now and doesn't have the steam to grab wickets !Captaining a Team in the Irani Trophy is not an automatic norm for selection in Team India.

Dada was vehement in AshokDinda's inclusion in the Shorter format for quite sometime, but now seem to have reconciled quite sensibly.Even Dinda was showered with accolades by his Coach in Allan Donald for Pune Warriors in IPL,but his economy itself spoke for him.

So let Selection Criteria be based on only Merit & Merit only and someone resting on past Laurels be discouraged !

Posted by sreehk on (February 22, 2014, 6:48 GMT)

Ojha's exclusion is nothing short of a pure conspiracy. Which captain drops his bowler who has taken 10 wickets and was MOM in previous match? Who decides these things? Why should these decisions be dependent only on one person? How do we know things are transparent and how on earth could explain dropping Ojha? With so much of politics around, Dhoni has clearly abused the power to favor people who share his business interests and loyal lobbies. Team selection for every match should involve Captain, Vice-captain, Coach, and Chief selector. This way it brings a rational approach to selections and ensures that no individual is favored and is given undue advantage. Dhoni has ruined careers of Pathan brothers, Yuvraj, Sehwag, and Mishra. Dhoni himself has batted often at 7, where he can come and play the "martyr" innings in a defeat, which is deceptively heroic. Dhoni should be SACKED!

Posted by   on (February 22, 2014, 5:59 GMT)

leaving that jadejas performance at durban the indian spin performance outside the subcontinent is nothing because every opp has prepared wickets which neutralize our spin efforts and we havent had a extra ordinary spinner like warne kumble and murlidharan who do not need any particular type of wickets to get going butstill i fel dada observation should be taken into practice and put forward as harbhajan has already proved himself on these wickets and ojha has not been tried

Posted by Rajeshj on (February 22, 2014, 5:25 GMT)

Ashwin has hardly played 4 tests in overseas matches and they were all pitches where other spinners have also been rendered wicketless.. And the ODIs he has played were all flat tracks where 600 runs have been scored in each of them... Is it fair to judge his skills on these basis?? @tests_the_best: the stats that you throw show only one side of the picture.. If you remember well, that was Kumble/Bhajji's second or third tour to Australia or SA.. And those were days when the Australian pitches helped spin bowling because of Shane Warne.. After Warne's retirement, the Aussie pitches don't spin much after 2010.. So let us not show half-truths and claim Ashwin is not skilled.. Ashwin/Ojha is our best spin combination.. Jadeja should be thrown out of tests.. And above all, claims to bring RAZOOL is the most laughable.. this guy gets thrashed even in Ranji matches and still don't why so much hype to bring him in...

Posted by   on (February 22, 2014, 4:52 GMT)

I agree with DADA. India needs good spinner like jalaj saxena,rasool,ojha.. Rasool can also bat and very good spinner. He took 6-7 wickets against australian team in a side match plus he scored runs. Apart from that they need to get Irfan pathan back along with umesh yadav. Also try and test kedhar jadhav who had an outstanding 2 seasons. India do have good options..they need to try it out instead of being rigid with failed players. I still dont want Ishant and Rohit along with ashwin n zak in the team. Get some fresh blood..

Posted by Al_Bundy1 on (February 22, 2014, 4:32 GMT)

Dada makes a good point. Ashwin and Jadeja are useless outside India and Bhajji is finished. India should take Ojha and Rasool for outside tests. Jadeja can still play ODIs outside India due to his all-round abilities, but Ashwin is not even good for ODIs outside India.

Posted by inswing on (February 22, 2014, 4:06 GMT)

Ashwin and Jadeja are good only in Indian conditions. Ashwin has an overseas average of 75 after many tests. Simply not acceptable. Bangladeshi bowlers have better numbers than that. It is not some kind of bad "patch", he always performs badly overseas. Ojha must be given a chance overseas. He may turn out not to be too good either, but can't be worse than Ashwin. Jadeja can't be the sole spinner either.

Posted by sid2677 on (February 22, 2014, 1:42 GMT)

It is good that a captain supports and stands up for his team and players, so if Dhoni stands up for some of his players, what's wrong? However, the players need to perform. The difference between the players Ganguly supported and the current bunch of players who are Dhoni's boys is that Ganguly's men like Yuvraj, Zaheer, Sehwag and Harbhajan performed! Among Dhoni's favorites, only Jadeja has enhanced his reputation. Ashwin is of no use on foreign wickets, Ishant is inconsistent and erractic despite having played almost 60 tests and Rohit Sharma is overrated. Interestingly, Irfan Pathan and Mohd. Kaif did much better under Ganguly. After Ganguly lost his place and the captaincy, the careers of both Irfan and Kaif went downhill too. Dhoni needs to be a bit more imaginative and get rid of his non-performers. And seriously, please give Shami some rest! He's a rare gem, and hopefully he is handled carefully.

Posted by Johnny_129 on (February 22, 2014, 0:26 GMT)

I know Ganguly has been a great player and leader of the Indian team. Generally, he is correct in his assessments BUT in this case he is HALF-CORRECT! If it was only my opinion than I would accept Ganguly's sentiments BUT it is the opinion of NEARLY ALL EXPERTS around the world (esp. outside of a India) that India has a very weak pace bowling attack!!!! Replacing one spinner is not the answer to India's problems. Zak has been a great servant of India and I am a fan. However, it is now his time to step aside and take on the mentoring role - The skills are still there but the zip has faded and he can only manage a wicket or two with the new ball at most Ishant is way too inconsistent - Good one innings and very poor the next. Also, Ishanlack of pace (he is now bowling slower than Zak!) does allow to build pressure as a pack

Posted by   on (February 21, 2014, 20:50 GMT)

Ashwin and Ojha should be soon twins for India. Give them some long run together instead of Rohit or other non performing batsmen. It would surely beneficial.

Posted by tests_the_best on (February 21, 2014, 19:50 GMT)

Ganguly is absolutely right! Exactly echoes my thoughts, our pacers or captaincy are not the main problem but lack of quality spinner. The following stats from India's much better showing in away tours 2007-2011 brings out the point:

In 2007, Kumble took 3 wkts at Lord's, 6 at Nottingham (Ind won) and 5 at the Oval.

In 07-08, Kumble/Bhajji took 10 wkts at MCG, 12 at SCG, 4 in Perth (Ind won) and 2 in Adelaide.

In 08-09, Bhajji took 7 wkts in Hamilton (Ind won), 2 in Napier and 7 wkts in Hamilton (Ind nearly won).

In 10-11, Bhajji took 2 wkts at Centurion, 6 in Durban (Ind won) and 7 in Cape Town (Ind in position to win).

If compared with Eng 2011 & after, above stats show that lack of consistent spinner support is the biggest problem for India. Ashwin/Jadeja might have taken the odd 4-5 wkts in a match but it's far from enough to help India take 20 wkts quickly. More than Zaheer's form or other quicks, Ind sorely miss someone like Kumble.

Posted by basusri133b on (February 21, 2014, 18:58 GMT)

What ever happened to Harmeet Singh the young India Under 19 spinner.? He is a tremendous prospect for the future. Or does he need a God Father to be selected?

Posted by MaruthuDelft on (February 21, 2014, 18:05 GMT)

It is important to select bowlers who CAN'T bat and DON'T LIKE to bat. Such bowlers concentrate on their bowling. If Indian bowlers get interested in batting there will be a sure decline shortly. Harbajan, Ashwin, Jadeja and Bhuvaneshwar are examples. Zaheer, Ishant, Shamy, Srinath and Ojah are better than the first group by miles; they don't bother about their batting.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2014, 17:52 GMT)

Team india need a left arm spinner OJHA ahead of Sir Jadeja.......

Posted by raulraj on (February 21, 2014, 17:23 GMT)

Ganguly is wrong about spinners, I am harbhajan's fan but I think he lost it. Dhoni should quit test and work on ODI team to win the 2015 world cup. He backs his players but Doesnt trust them. My playing Eleven for Next 2 Overseas tours will be: Have Zaheer as Bowling Coach and Dravid as batting coach/ Team Director should be Anil Kumble. My 11: 1. Dhawan 2. Rahane 3. Pujara(v.c) 4. Kohli(c) 5. Karthik(wk) 6. Jadeja(abt time to trust him as batsmen, 3 triple 100's) 7. Ashwin(needs exposer, gud bat) 8. I. Pathan(if not injured/R dhawan 9. Ishant Sharma(overseas)/Ojha(In sub continent) 10. Yadav 11. Shami. If jadeja ashwin and Pathan or R dhawan can fit in their role this team will be team to beat. 6 bowlers, 4 fast and 2 spinners, batting upto 8+Ishant's defence, 5 Complete batsmen and all of them are capableto score double centuries. Of course this wont happen cuz of politics and Dhoni(Hate him!!), I pandey and aaron and rayudu in reserve. This team will be strong for any condition.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2014, 17:17 GMT)

Indian should try out Karn Sharma (of IPL fame http://www.espncricinfo.com/india/content/player/30288.html). Just by IPL we can't be certain but he seems promising.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2014, 17:09 GMT)

Dada is right. Ojha is a must in tests and also ODIs. His ODI record is also good. The Indian team must have the ability to take wickets at crucial times and bowl out oppositions cheaply when defending totals. Ojha is a must!

Posted by Patrick_ on (February 21, 2014, 17:04 GMT)

Harbajan failed to impress even in Indian pitches for recent tests. Ojha could have been tried, but Dhoni does not need wickets from spinners in overseas tests, he just need and economy bowler and hence Jadeja. Don't know if it is the best option, but then India have been historically poor overseas except in some rare patches, so expect nothing drastic.

Posted by wolf777 on (February 21, 2014, 15:59 GMT)

Harbhajan was dropped from the Tests because he stopped taking wickets. Conceding 100 plus runs without taking many wicket was becoming a regular affair with him. His past performance does not guarantee good performances in future. You got to go with his present form in Ranji Trophy which is pretty average. Also, you can't have too many spinners playing in away games. No country is stupid enough to present us turning dust bowls to suit Indian spinners. The best way is to get rid of the role of sixth batsman and get a bowler - fast bowlers for away games and spinner for home games.

Posted by balaji28 on (February 21, 2014, 15:47 GMT)

I have seen how bhajji performed ridiculously in the match against karnataka and I think sourav haven't watched that match properly and in that same match rookie spinner shreyas gopal bowled some mesmerizing spells while at the same bhajji did a ridiculous captaincy by setting a worst field set that I have ever seen in my life. amit mishra and bhajji bowled miserable deliveries that were thrashed black and blue by karnataka batsmen. The only opportunity to improve indian team's bowling debacle is pragyan and ashwin should combine and create a twin spin magic and even if they fail they should be given property and shouldn't be dropped until england test series and if both of them failed in that series then talk about sacking them.Both of them should be selected in the playing 11 and any one will surely pick wickets if both of them combine and they will surely create twin spin magic as both of them are eager to combine their intelligence and take india to it's glory.

Posted by ProdigyA on (February 21, 2014, 15:22 GMT)

Dada is contradicting his own statements. On one side he says Dhoni should continue as captain and on the other side he is blaming him for not selecting the rite team.

Pls know that as long as Dhoni is there, the rite team will never be selected. All his favourites, irrespective of their performance will keep getting selected in the XI.

So solution is to get rid of Dhoni and everything else will fall into it's place.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2014, 15:09 GMT)

going from bad to worse. ojha is basically a dusty pitch bowler. he doesn't have the gile or the turn to deceive the batsman. even more he is technically very poor interms of wrist position. harbhajan is over the hill now. look at shreyas gopal and kuldeep yadav. both r wrist spinners and look very good at the moment

Posted by dabbadubba on (February 21, 2014, 15:07 GMT)

ganguly is always biased towards his cronies... if dhawan had failed, he would have told bring in sehwag as he has a good record.. ganguly grow up..players are not to be selected on what they accomplised 10 - 12 years ago.

Posted by S_M_G on (February 21, 2014, 14:46 GMT)

Ojha is only Indian spinner who can land 6 balls on same spot. As per retired Indian spin masters. He can flight too.

Posted by Nampally on (February 21, 2014, 14:43 GMT)

Mr. Ganguly, When Indian Test team under Dhoni's captaincy & XI selection can accommodate only 3 Specialist Bowlers, there is no place for spinners. Jadeja is included as an all rounder to provide more batting. Also on NZ pitches, spinners do not succeed because the pitches are made for fast bowlers. India has 2 alternatives: (a) Go with 4 Pace Bowlers (b) Go with 3 pace Bowlers + 1 spinner + 1 pace Bowling all rounder. Ojha is an excellent LH spinner who varies his flight, spin & trajectory much better than Jadeja. Even when the Selectors included Ojha in the squad, Dhoni dropped him. Similarly when the Selectors gave Dhoni 6 pace bowlers + a fast bowling all rounder, Dhoni went with his same 3 pace bowlers + a spinner all rounder. He included Binny as a "guest player" in XI- No Batting + 1 over Bowling!. So both the options (a) & (b) above were thrown out of the window by Dhoni. If Ganguly coached Dhoni in proper XI selection, India would have won both SA & NZ Test series easily!

Posted by gauravm5 on (February 21, 2014, 14:41 GMT)

Its very easy to criticize a team combination after series defeat. After 2013 Champions Trophy triumph, the same Ganguly picked Jadeja in his all-time favorite Indian ODI team & now he is saying Jadeja is not a good overseas spinner. Ganguly has always backed only two types of cricketers, Bengali cricketers and those who played under him for India. Few days ago, he was seen advocating for Laxmi Ratan Shukla for all-rounder spot in Indian team. In March 2013, ganguly was asking to include Manoj Tiwary & Ashok Dinda calling him India's best death overs bowler. Both failed in last IPL & Ganguly forgot naming them whenever media asked ganguly for his opinion about best Indian playing 11. Ganguly always talks about India's 11 overseas win in tests under his captaincy bubt he never mentions 6 out of those 11 came against Bangladesh & Zimbabwe. He never misses a chance to tell about 465 runs he scored in the 2003 world cup but never says 330 out of those 465 came against Namibia & Kenya.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2014, 14:30 GMT)

I actually have another suggestion -Let Indian bowlers grow moustaches like Mitch Johnson then they'll pick up heaps of wickets. And let Indian batsmen grow beards like Brendon Mcculum and they'll score heavily. I think Kohli pujara Dhawan Rahane already have facial hair which has enabled them to score ;)

Posted by itsthewayuplay on (February 21, 2014, 14:28 GMT)

I wonder what Dada thinks of the spin quintet of Ohja, Mishra, Chawla, Jadeja and Ashwin.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2014, 14:24 GMT)

This is ridiculous. Jadeja got 6 wicket in South Africa. Whenever Jadeja And Ojha Played together Jedeja out played Ojha since he is more accurate. Ojha is a bowler who can be played only in spinning tracks. He never played outside india still his avg is 30. As far as Test left arm spin is concern Jedeja is far better than Ojha. IF we check with first class cricket it is evident.Dhonis bowling tactics is bad especially with fast bowling. He is always encoraging bowlers to bowl too many bouncers just like what happened in south Africa. Dhoni is not giving opportunity to young fast bowlers If they include Ishwar Pandey and Buvi the game might hv change...

Posted by   on (February 21, 2014, 14:18 GMT)

The sad thing for Ojha is he can't bat.I personally think that it should not be the first criterion for selecting a spinner that he should be able to bat. Yes ashwin has got centuries in Asia but will not suffice as a batting allrounder. He will be found out. People who are saying he should come in place of Rahane/Rohit/Vijay are crazy. As for jadeja he is great for ODI s but does not have flight and cannot bat with solid technique. The top seven are there for batting and not dropping catches. India must realize this. Even though I would not advocate his inclusion on current form basis,Harbhajan has done a better job then them abroad having said that both of them have got lesser chances but still those avgs are bradmanesque but unluckily are bowling averages.

Posted by Seanny on (February 21, 2014, 13:50 GMT)

Agree with dada here; dhoni os pretty much on defensive side in tests which ain't feasible all the times, coming to bowling department yeah a team like India which lacks pace spearheads and has relied on spinners for most of the times in the past, spin is very very important and Ojha certainly deserves a longer run, as a specialist bowler; and hell no, just because jadeja can bat doesn mean u discard a specialist bowler and jad in no way is a test match winning all rounder.....we shuld rem, bowlers are as important as batsmen to win a test match........

Posted by   on (February 21, 2014, 13:36 GMT)

Agree - Pragyan Ojha is a must. He should have played in Eng and Aus when we were thrashed. After a grt year with surrey Pragyan Ojha was just ignore in Eng series. Dhoni should not be involved in selection. ANd our selectors are JOKERS.

Posted by S_M_G on (February 21, 2014, 13:29 GMT)

Harbhajan is not keen to bown in domestic cricket. More than that he avoids direct comparison (no other off-spin bowler) in same team. Ojha is unluckey. He needs to included. He is our best spinner. We could have won In NZ and SA. But as per new norms his batting and fielding skills are not adequate.

Posted by Snambidi on (February 21, 2014, 13:29 GMT)

Sourav Ganguli's suggestion tonhave spinners Harbhajan in Test Cricket is a welcome suggestion. However,his earlier remarks about removing Dhoni from Captaincy does not appear to be correct & demanding earnestly. It is not Dhoni's fault alone that found defeat.The bowlers did not click when it was absolutely needed. At the same time it does not seem to be a practical solution to drop Aswin & Jadeja. They are very often useful with Bat also whenmainBatsmen fail. Harbhajan is a welcome suggestion. Of course he has a few years more left in him.Sometimes he is deadly though unpredictable. It is for the selection board to find a most suitable balanced Team with 3 pace Bowlers& 2 Spinners. Dinesh Kartikis also a good candidate for tests also. All players can not be included in the Team. So a very wise selection is required. Any attempt to exclude Dhoni based on allegations of match fixing & so on would be disastrous to the IndianCricket. Dhoni should remain as Captain as long as he likes

Posted by   on (February 21, 2014, 13:24 GMT)

Jadeja has ability to keep bowli g conistently even ohja doesn't have any variations, what does he do? It was not his fault that he couldn't get any turn at all. jadejs is a clean striker of the ball. Somebody needs to remind him how he got the 3 triple hundereds in first class cricket. he can not get runs playing like a t20 player. it has be better than that. Overseas bowlers are much better than home. I still think jadeja is a better option than ohja and harbhajan singh. Ashwin has just hit the rock bottom of his career. His odi bowling has become worst and batting does not seem to be improving.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2014, 13:19 GMT)

f virat were the captain u would have said both virat n jaddu played and won U-19 WC and both are good friends right from 2007.so virat is backing jad. Same if pujara were the captain-both are saurashtra players.....and so on.... Whether jadeja doesnt deserve to bat at no 5 in odis above rayudu and rahane who played very slow.See the way he plays shot balls even better than dhawan and raina. Domestic records are better than DK or rayudu. He has much more man of the matches than in Odis than ishant,ash,rohit etc and all have played almost equal no of matches. He is the biggest match winner at current after dhoni n virat in odis. so plz dont blame his selection.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2014, 13:10 GMT)

Dada ji dhoni has searched a better allrounder than of your times like SRIRAM,REENDRA SODHI,DINESH MONGIA,HEMANG BADANI,SANJAY BANGAR,JP YADAV.... Jadeja is far better than all these in all departments batting,balling,fielding. Jad has 9 man of the matches in odis which are far more than ashwins,ishants or rohits and all have played almost same no of odis.This clearly shows he is a big match winner after kohli and dhoni in odis. So please not suppress the talent.Rather ask to utilise all his skills. and bhajii has not taken wickets against even MP and orissa teams currently.His current domestic performances are even poor than piyush chawla.then why dada is backing him?

Posted by   on (February 21, 2014, 13:09 GMT)

Why not bat jad at no 5 in odis. He plays shot balls better than raina,has brilliant domestic record.50+ batting avg.We lost odis because of slow start by rohit and slow and inconsistence batting of rahane and rayudu.Had jadeja sent at no 5 ahead of rayudu or/and rahane,he would have scored more runs at better strike rate. Why was dada silent when he too 6 wickets in durban against SA.HE has played just 6 test before this. Better improve him as an allrounder as he has performed with bat in several ocassions. Better play jadeja as an all rounder and bringing umesh yadav in green wickets in place of vijay and sending rahane to open with dhawan in test.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2014, 12:50 GMT)

I agree with Ganguly for Ojha. Just because Ojha cannot bat he is not preferred as spin option. But he can do wonders for India overseas. Also if all the batsmen fails what will one batsman make difference. He should be included for sure.

Posted by itsthewayuplay on (February 21, 2014, 12:35 GMT)

I had a lot of respect for Ganguly when he captained India. He understood the challenges facing Cricket India and turned it all around and ignoring in particular regionalism-based selection. Whilst I agree that Ohja is a must in the squad, I'm very surprised that Ganguly feels that any spinner would have made a match-changing difference in the NZ series where conditions did not suit spinners. I know Ganguly has always favoured Harbarjan so maybe he's speaking with his heart but his head must surely tell him that his performances over many years now haven't warranted a recall. With Tendulkar finally gone, the selectors now have a free hand with selection and have to build a team for future success. This means that the likes Sehwag, Gambhir, Yuvraj, Harbajan etc have to perform consistently domestically and then on the A tours to show they they still have the ability, hunger and commitment and deserve a place in the squad.

Posted by Rajeshj on (February 21, 2014, 12:31 GMT)

Ganguly's words about Ojha is absolutely spot on and he is far better than Jadeja at the test level.. I think Dhoni has himself to blame for the loss in NZ tests by playing Jadeja, who was too one-dimensional and was bowling like rolling a chapathi.. But its quite shocking to hear him say that Harbhajan should be tried in tests.. Harbhajan is less than ordinary these days and it was a pain to watch him in Ranji matches, getting tonked by rookie players.. For tests, we should stick with Ojha/Ashwin combination as that's the best we have now.. Ashwin has only played in flat decks in overseas conditions so far, be it one-dayers or tests and its not correct to judge him on that alone.. Rahul Dravid explained it clearly in a report on how even Kumble/Harbhajan struggled initially with kookaburra ball and it takes time and experience.. And even he felt that Ashwin should be allowed to play in overseas matches and he will learn and get better..

Posted by   on (February 21, 2014, 12:23 GMT)

Harbhajan won't be a good choice in the team anymore. Yes he did a lot in the past but not now. Ojha is a good choice and surprised for his exclusion to NZ. Ashwin and Jadeja can't be front line spinners for India especially overseas. They can only play supportive roles as second spinner who can bat!! We can blame spinners for loosing at SA and NZ who failed to pick wickets, remember spin is always our strength in any conditions not fast bowling!! Rarely our fast bowlers won matches for India but spinners did often in past.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2014, 12:04 GMT)

With due respect to all the comments, we are missing one point on Ashwin's ODI career. Two new balls and 5 fielders inside the circle. Am sure only S. Ajmal has much better attack and we have to look at his experience. I think Ashwin is over used, he should used only for test / ODI matches and ask to develop his batting and become all rounder and play at No. 06 ahead of WK. He should not play T20 and IPL. I dont think Bhaji & Mishra's batting is as good as Ashwin (Look at the average). Am sure even if Bhaji & Mishra bowl with current rules in ODI, they will not succeed.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2014, 12:01 GMT)

Agree about Ojha but not about Harbhajan... Ojha has been a consistent performer whenever he has been picked but Dhoni somehow, never seems to favour him due to his lesser batting credentials compared to Ashwin and Jadeja... However he deserves a long run atleast in tests where pure skills are more valuable than occasional brilliance... Harbhajan is at best an average bowler these days and we all saw how good he was against the Karnataka side - Shreyas Gopal bowled many times better than him... so it is not about Bhajji but about Ojha... I still believe that Ashwin can improve his overseas record provided he's serious about test matches...

Posted by Jaffa79 on (February 21, 2014, 11:15 GMT)

Harbhajan hasn't been any good for about 5 or 6 years (at least). I would love him to play in England this coming summer as he'll get smashed all around. He has lost his loop and he doesn't really turn it much anymore. Ashwin and Ojha are miles better and Jadeja is good as a second spinner, as his batting gives the team depth. I'd put Mishra and probably even Chawla above Harbhajan. If you think Harbhajan should be anywhere near the team, you are living in the past.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2014, 11:08 GMT)

Why is Ashwin getting criticized even when he did not play in tests at New Zealand?

Posted by siddhartha87 on (February 21, 2014, 11:04 GMT)

Harbhajan has passed his peak.But that does not mean we should continue with Ashwin specially in ODIs. Ashwin has taken just 58 wickets (50 odis avge-39)in last two years. His t20I record is even worse. 13 wickets in 19 matches and a economy 7.83.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2014, 10:48 GMT)

I am pretty amused to see people here who are more knowledgeable than India's best ever captain. Go on guys, enlighten me more with your gems... ;)

Posted by A.Ak on (February 21, 2014, 10:45 GMT)

'Harbhajan was good at your time, not now. I back Ojha for sure. He is much better than Jadeja.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2014, 10:41 GMT)

Harbhajan Singh hasn't been troubling Ranji batsmen consistently. He's not getting younger or fitter, he was dropped for a very good reason, that is 3 years of underperformance, and he hasn't done enough to make a come ack.

Posted by SANATP22 on (February 21, 2014, 10:36 GMT)

Next test series is in England in July so the team definitely selected on IPL Performance where we can see R Ashwin,R Jadeja, M Vijay, Rohit Sharma, Ishant Sharma,S Raina perform very well and again get chance in England tour. There is noting can happen in this Indian side and Only MSD & N Shreenivasan can rule.

Posted by SudeepSonawane on (February 21, 2014, 10:35 GMT)

Agree with Ganguly. His analysis is perfect. India are currently missing the incisive edge in spin with Ashwin and Jadeja. The new Test captain - I'm certain selectors will dismiss Dhoni - should give Amit Mishra a chance. He scored 43 and 84, adding 144 for the fourth wicket with Tendulkar, in the 4th Test against England in August 2011, his last Test. Dhoni did not persist with him since he conceded 170 runs from 38 overs without taking a wicket in the only innings England batted at Kennington. If that is the argument, then Ashwin and Jadeja fare no better. Mishra bats with assurance, he scores runs with proper technique and does not look like getting out any ball unlike Ashwin and Jadeja. Harbhajan also has two Test centuries. He is a much better fielder than Ashwin. We need an aggressive captain to handle a leg-spinner. Ohja, Harbhajan and Mishra should be the spinners in the the coming Tests.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2014, 10:30 GMT)

I actually agree with Ganguly, because in the Champions League, he bowled really impressively, and all that would depend on how Ashwin, Jadeja, Ojha or Singh plays in IPL. They need to select the top 2 of them. Then India would be strong in the spin department. In the fast department, take out the tall, hairy dude, and put in Yadav. While Yadav may have a weakness in line and length, he has the pace to scare the shit out of the batsman. Bhuvneshwar can be really economical, and Aaron has to be exposed more. If he is good keep him and Shami in, and have 2 spinners. For once, we need to go for only 4 batsmen, and 1 all rounder and 2 spinners and 4 pace. I would say then we are balanced.

Posted by androyuvi on (February 21, 2014, 10:23 GMT)

I still believe Ashwin is a quality cricketer, despite his long dry of away wickets. Lets put things in perspective, ODIs and TESTs are entirely different. So it's unfair to judge Ashwin based on his ODI records. He has played 4 overseas tests, and 3 of them are his second ever test series. Also in Aus, our batsmen struggled and he never had the cushion of runs to attack. Still he bowled well, owing to all the misfields and dropped catches. In SA, he bowled on a greentop in Kingsmead, and had one off innings. Lucky for Jaddu, he played on a spin-friendly track of Durban. Based on that, MSD was wrong to sit Ashwin out and pick Jaddu.

Everyone knows that spinners who enjoy bounce, and the spinners who knows to topspin the ball are gonna succeed more in greentops than the ones who rely on turn. Jadeja is not a quality spinner who varies and decieves the batsmen.

Last point I am gonna suggest is, India has to fit both Ashwin and Ojha in the team irrespective of venues and conditions.

Posted by androyuvi on (February 21, 2014, 10:11 GMT)

The answer is not Bhajji and Ojha. It is Ashwin and Ojha. Whenever they have bowled together, both of them did well. That is not happening since Dhoni wants one more batsman in Jadeja. And you cannot play both Jaddu and Ojha in a team, and hence Ashwin keeps his place. It should have been Ojha who partnered Ashwin instead of Jaddu. If MSD needs Jadeja in the team, it has to be in the cost of Rohit Sharma.

Posted by Aravind_Verified on (February 21, 2014, 9:59 GMT)

Ganguly lacks sense..how many wickets newzealand spin bowlers took in the last series??

Posted by   on (February 21, 2014, 9:57 GMT)

Ojha is not good enough to bowl outside India. Even though he has never played outside India in difficult spinning condition , still his ave is 30. Jadeja is Unlucky coz he has never played in Wankhede Stadium Mumbai. Every one is talking abt Ojha's performance in his last test match played at Wankhede which is a spinning paradise. But don't forget the match he played before that at eden garden which is also a Spinning wicket, their his performance was not good even with a much weeker wicket....../

Posted by brusselslion on (February 21, 2014, 9:56 GMT)

Unless Ojha's bowling has regressed badly, I would have thought that he would be an obvious choice for the squad to tour England. He has experience of English conditions as he played 1/2 a season with Surrey, where he bowled extremely well (albeit against 2nd division county batsman). If India don't want him, then I would welcome him back to the Oval with open arms.

Posted by sramesh_74 on (February 21, 2014, 9:55 GMT)

Harbhajan for overseas tours??? Please Sourav..everybody knows you favour Harbhajan..but come on!! He was unable to breach the defences of batsmen in the Ranji trophy in home conditions and you are advocating he be picked for Eng and Aus???

Posted by sunilcheruvu on (February 21, 2014, 9:51 GMT)

I think the bowlers are getting tired and hence not able to pick wickets if they didn't pick up wickets in the 1st 50. Jadeja hardly bowls in the 1st innings. I think we need another seam up bowler which we have to search. If jadeja bowls 3-4 overs in does not work overseas.

Posted by switchmitch on (February 21, 2014, 9:42 GMT)

The current Indian spinners are not world class but bringing back failed players is not the solution. Harbajan was persevered for close to 3 years without him performing at all. Bringing him back again is a step of regression. Ohja is unlucky but the management has to look ahead and try other spinners of the country. There are a couple who have performed as well as Ohja in the domestic circuit, if not better.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2014, 9:38 GMT)

But this statement looks ridiculous. The pitch was full of grass. What happend to Harbajan who played Irain Trophy never look like taking wicket. variation comes when we get some suport. Even then he bowled very well to suport fast bowlers.. Jadeja played along with Ohja 3 times in test in all those matches Jadeja out played Ojha since he is more accurate. Even in firstclass cricket his avg is better than ojha. Only in IPL Ojha has better record...

Posted by timtom on (February 21, 2014, 9:32 GMT)

Right about OJha ... but not Singh... Except Ganguly everyone is aware of Singhs form. These comments are based on his dislike for Dhoni and love for Bhaji and not based on test results. Unfortunately Ganguly has been very transparent right from on-filed antics and off filed comments.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2014, 9:31 GMT)

Much as I admire Ganguly, I cannot agree with Bhajji being in the team. He is well past his sell by date!

Posted by Naresh28 on (February 21, 2014, 9:22 GMT)

@giri - agree with your analysis. Rohit, Vijay, Ashwin and two of the seamers are not contributing in TESTS. We can now see the real value we had with KUMBLE in the team. In the old days we had 4 bowlers and at least two parttime spinners.

Posted by satishchandar on (February 21, 2014, 9:10 GMT)

I do respect Ojha as the spinner in tests. But can't say the same about Bhajji.. And just have a small positive view on Dhoni's selection.. Ashwin outbowled Bhajji easily last tour and RJ too did the same by outbowling Ojha when they played together. I wouldn't term it a terrible decision to make Ash and RJ the prime spinners in tests but sayign that, i would still opt for Ojha as he is more conventional..

Posted by   on (February 21, 2014, 9:07 GMT)

Spot on. It ultimately boils down to team balance. If you are playing just 3 seamers and there are no allrounders or worthy part-timer bowlers, then you need to play a world-clas spinner. After kumble we had Harbajan, but now we need to get two real good spinners. Atleast harbajan even when not bowling well looked okay while Aswin seems ineffective. Also Shewag for Vijay and Gambir (or an allrounder) for Rohit is not a bad option. Jadeja is not such a good batsman nor a good enough bowler to replace a batsman or spinner.

MSD must realize that he is betraying his own strengths - India used to play 3 pacers and a spinner and especially in the ODIs yuvraj, shewag, raina would all get their overs in quickly. At times batsmen tend to relax against part timers - but the part timer should not be just to change ends. Shewag, ganguly, and Sachin could surprise.

Jadeja, Aswin, Rohit, Vijay, the 3 fast bowlers are not contributing regularly leading to losses.

Posted by Coolcapricorn on (February 21, 2014, 9:06 GMT)

Yes, do think Ojha was very unlucky to be dropped in view of his recent performances in the team - particularly considering both Ashwin & Jaddu have not been that impressive. However Bhajji had performed so poorly for so long in the team before being dropped [together with some of our other star players like Viru, Gautam etc] and has since showed NO form whatsoever in getting back. We simply need to be realistic rather than nostalgic in our team selection!

Posted by   on (February 21, 2014, 8:59 GMT)

Spot on dada. That's we need aggressive captains. Who take pride in winning and hurt in defeat. I feel Dhoni is just too cool for a test senario.

Posted by Amit_4_Sachin on (February 21, 2014, 8:57 GMT)

Well, the 'Wicketless Wonder' Singh might have taken a few wickets in initial stages of Ranji, he was an absolute failure later on. He has done absolutely nothing to deserve a recall. Ojha has played only in India & compared to Jadeja's record in India, he's been ordinary.

Posted by crockit on (February 21, 2014, 8:52 GMT)

Ohja probably went out because the performances of Ashwin and Jadeja had been very good for a while and, of course, they can bat. As India had trouble gettiing through NZ and SA on several occasions they clearly need more threat. Ishant has improved and they have some other good seamers but they are still weaker than most teams in this department. Spin wise Ohja should definitely be seen as part of the solution. Harbajhan is a different matter - he was not looked threatening in tests for a number of years.

Posted by baskar_guha on (February 21, 2014, 8:52 GMT)

IMO, we need to find a new spinner -- what we have are potentially okay as second spinners but none of them are special enough to lead the spin department in all conditions.

Posted by jimbond on (February 21, 2014, 8:48 GMT)

As far as Ojha is concerned, Ganguly is right. Ojha is slightly better than Jadeja as a bowler, but as far as Dhoni is concerned, Jadeja (or even Ashwin) brings in a lot of value with the bat. Regarding Harbajan, Ganguly is living in the past. Nowadays Harbajan cannot even get wickets on spinning tracks at the domestic level. It may have made sense to play someone like Amit Mishra who is an attacking option. But then, Ganguly has his own biases- such as his favourites like Harbajan, and those he dislikes such as Amit Mishra.

Posted by Naresh28 on (February 21, 2014, 8:45 GMT)

Sensible analysis by GANGULY. Yes we are failing in the spin department as well. This is what we fans want to see, suggestions that can aid to make team India better. The biggest plus we get with Jadeja is his ability to field. Thus we would be better off experimenting by bringing in one of the two. Harbajan needs to improve if he is going to come back.

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