IPL 2014 June 3, 2014

I was the best Indian spinner in IPL - Harbhajan

ESPNcricinfo staff

Harbhajan Singh believes he was the standout Indian spinner in the IPL and has voiced displeasure at his continued absence from national squads.

"I do feel ignored and it's surely not a good feeling," he told PTI. "Yes, it hurts when you are not selected for India. My performance in this year's IPL is for everyone to see. I can do what's there in my control. But let me assure you, I might get hurt by the snub but it would not stall my comeback bid. Among the Indian spinners, I believe that I bowled the best."

Harbhajan, 33, could not find a place for the ODIs in Bangladesh, nor was he in contention for the Tests in England. He has not been part of an Indian side since March 2013. There have been arguments that he slips into defensive tactics and that his effect diminishes when tasked as the lead spinner. However, in the latter part of the IPL, he had to shoulder Mumbai Indians' attack in the absence of last season's spearheads.

"There was no Mitch (Johnson) this year and Lasith (Malinga) had international commitments after first 10 games," he said. "So I had more responsibility this year as the senior-most bowler.

"I flighted the ball and was slower through the air. In 14 IPL matches, there were 10 games where I went for less than 24 runs. There was only one match in which I went for more than 35 runs and that was against Rajasthan Royals."

Harbhajan bowled 55 overs in the competition and finished with the third-best economy rate. However, only five of them were sent down during the last five overs. The majority of his workload (42 overs) was between the 7th and the 15th overs.

"What satisfied me was that on most occasions, I was able to make the batsman play the ball where I wanted him to play. From grip to execution, it felt good. It reinstated my belief that I am good enough to play at this level for another five years."

A reasonable lower-order hitter, Harbhajan had the statistics to back his claim for his re-branding as an allrounder. He also has two Test centuries.

"When I watch my matches on TV, I see that beside my name they show a ball which means I am a specialist bowler. I have more than 1000 runs (1043 runs) in T20 coming in at Nos 8 and 9. I have a strike-rate of 142-plus over 164 matches. How am I clubbed only as a specialist bower?"

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • TR on June 6, 2014, 15:11 GMT

    Excuse me, is India going to Bang and Eng for T20 series? Why is he claiming a spot based on IPL performance? Ashwin and Jadeja are in the Indian team based on their prior *Test* performance and not due to IPL performance.

    Whats are the results in Harbajan's first class performance since he was dropped from Indian team?

    Also on what basis he says he was better than ALL India bowlers in IPL? In IPL 2014: Ankit Sharma & AR Patel are more economical than Harbajan. ARPatel, RJadeja and Ashwin took more wkts than Harbajan. AnkitSharma, Karanveer Singh, SGopal, ARPatel, Karn Sharma were better than Harbajan in bowling averages.

    There were many young India spinners far better than Harbajan, Ashwin, Jadeja in this IPL2014.

  • siddhartha on June 5, 2014, 3:45 GMT

    His test strike is 68 and one day average is 33. There is no reason to pick up bowlers with such mediocre at best wicket taking ability. India need spinners who can take wickets and Harbhajan is definitely not one of them

  • Dummy4 on June 4, 2014, 19:00 GMT

    Singh expects a better treatment because he has played in the past. Just looking at current performance Tambe was miles ahead of Singh. Mishra, Ashwin, Jadeja all disappointed in the current IPL

  • ESPN on June 4, 2014, 18:50 GMT

    He was not at all bad, but there was Akshar and Praveen Tambe a bit better than him. Respect to Harbhajan, I thought he was in for England tour! GG

  • Dummy4 on June 4, 2014, 10:25 GMT

    I guess Harbhajan Singh forgot Pravin Tambe. Pravin Tambe was marginally better than Harbhajan singh until the play offs and both of these were being overtaken by AKSHAR PATEl, The Emerging player

  • Nish on June 4, 2014, 9:08 GMT

    Clearly deluded is Bhajji - there are other Indian spinners who are newcomers too - like Askar Patel, Karanveer Singh etc who have taken more wickets, have better economy rates or bowling average in the IPL than him! He is an unreliable & inconsistent batsmen too & has no right to walk back into the Indian team at all! Think too many players like him became complacent by retaining their places in the team despite poor performances & hence that is why we got a few drubbings & whitewashes.

  • Swastik on June 3, 2014, 20:03 GMT

    LOL. Is this a joke?

    Akshar Patel was by far the best Indian spinner on show during the IPL. Harbhajan has had his chances, and he's got his head in sand right now if he can't see there is an entire queue of spinners better than him.

    He had a good IPL, yes, but to delude yourself thinking you were the best is... well, expected of Harbhajan. There's a reason he's out for 3 years, after all.

    Regarding Ashwin: he's great at home, and still learning outside. We've given him all of 4 tests outside and trashed him. People have ups and downs -- and there are much better spinners than Ashwin in India, to be honest -- but to say that he is better than even Ashwin is a bit of a stretch, IMO.

  • ESPN on June 3, 2014, 17:48 GMT

    Clearly Harbhajan was outstanding this IPL. The body language, flight, turn, proper off spinner. Last couple of years he was defensive but this year he was attacking. He might not be the best according to stats but he was definitely among the best as he was talking big wickets at crucial times. I would recommend Harbhajan in current form could be handy in England. I hardly feel ashwin deserve to be in playing 11 in England. It would be interesting to see India's team composition against broken English. Harbhajan has still in him. Prove yourself in domestic games, CLT20. WC team is yet to announce. Earn ticket to Australia.

  • Ashok on June 3, 2014, 17:33 GMT

    When Yuvraj & Raina are out of the National Test team, how can Harbhajan find a spot? Umesh Yadev was the best fast bowler this year. Amongst the spinners there were many good spinners led by Ojha,Patel & Chahal. India really needs pace bowlers of quality for the England & Australian Tours. Spinners are surplus. Even amongst the Pace bowlers there are very few in the fast bowlers class of 140 KPH+. Aaron, Yadev, Shami qualify for this with Ishant Sharma also in contention but with dubious control. Yadev has been strangely dropped. I personally felt that Raina, Yuvraj, Yadev & Uthappa/Nair all deserved a chance in the squad. As for spinners, they are unlikely to be successful on these 2 tours. Patel was the best choice but is left out because of Jadeja does the LH spinners + Ashwin does the RH off spinners. S0 Hatbhajan is surplus even for consideration let alone for comeback. I do not agree with Gambhir or Binny's choice because they do not deserve a chance on their record this year.

  • zuber on June 3, 2014, 17:00 GMT

    As soon as I read the title, I go "wow, really, he still thinks that about himself!!". Nobody is having a clue by what means is harbhajan saying that. Instead of hoping for a comeback he should enjoy his selection in at least Mumbai Indians and should look forward to mentor and coach youngsters. Forget national squad, he is actually hindering the entrances of some young players in Mumbai Indians who might be waiting for their chances.

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