IPL 2014

I was the best Indian spinner in IPL - Harbhajan

ESPNcricinfo staff

June 3, 2014

Comments: 27 | Text size: A | A

Harbhajan Singh celebrates the wicket of Glenn Maxwell, Mumbai Indians v Kings XI Punjab, IPL 2014, Mumbai, May 3, 2014
'What satisfied me was that on most occasions, I was able to make the batsman play the ball where I wanted him to play' - Harbhajan Singh © BCCI
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Players/Officials: Harbhajan Singh
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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?"

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by TRAM 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.

Posted by siddhartha87 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

Posted by   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

Posted by   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

Posted by   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

Posted by Coolcapricorn 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.

Posted by usernames 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.

Posted by   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.

Posted by Nampally 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.

Posted by zuber21886 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.

Posted by PratUSA on (June 3, 2014, 16:52 GMT)

With due respect to Harbhajan, people are not fool. Perform well in a domestic season, and you should make your come back. Having Malinga for only 10 matches? How many more were left to play afterwards? What did you do in Ranji this season or previous season for that matter? Let's be honest now, shall we.

Posted by amin.bintory on (June 3, 2014, 16:02 GMT)

LOL! Really bhajji? You are trying to make a comeback yes. But saying things like you were the best Indian spinner is stretching it a bit. You bowled okay. Nothing great. Bowling neither in death nor in powerplay. As a senior most bowler even if you take maximum responsibility you can only bowl a maximum of 4 overs! What responsibility in Malinga's absence did you take? Giving tips to fast bowlers? Do all the hardwork mate. Maybe you'll be lucky and play again for India. But don't make gas comments as these.

Posted by   on (June 3, 2014, 13:23 GMT)

Doesn't Harbhajan know how to read the stats. Here are the top of the list for Indian spinners who played minimum of 9 innings.

Best Economy Rate --> Aksar Patel Most wickets --> Jadeja Best Bowling figures --> Jadeja Best Average --> Piyush Chawla Best Strike rate --> Piyush Chawla

Best inning award winners Best Econonmy rate in an inning --> Ashwin Best strike rate in and inning --> Jadeja

In what way did Harbhajan have a good IPL and how can he say he was the best. I am missing his logic.

Posted by   on (June 3, 2014, 13:00 GMT)

Bhajji was good bowled well in IPL definitely better than Ashwin and Jadeja the two so called specialist spinners who play for India.Bhajji calling himself the best is a bit over the roof Akshar Shivam Karanveer Tambe Chahal Rasool all performed among youngest Akshar was best and Tambe at best in senior statesman.Ashwin is more content bowling leg stump and firing the ball in when he is taken to cleaners.If Ashwin is in squad as he is a better batsmen Bhajji is no worse.I would prefer your young guns to come in a play a part now Ashwin supporters will say Patel karan are too young mind you Ashwin was raw when he replaced Bhajji and it was based on IPL only.I sincerly hope Ashwin's test stint ends with England tour and better proper spinners take over

Posted by Siva_Bala75 on (June 3, 2014, 12:31 GMT)

Akshar Patel is the best Indian spinner in IPL.

Posted by   on (June 3, 2014, 12:14 GMT)

no mr harbhajan u were not the best indian spinner in this ipl . it was pravin tambe

Posted by   on (June 3, 2014, 11:54 GMT)

Ravi ashwin had a great t20 wc ,despite ordinary IPL. He in semis bowled a crucial 4-22-3 ,compared to mishra ,who under pressure went to 3-36-0. India need bowlers,who can stand under pressure ,Ashwin and akshar patel r the one. Ashwin is a good test batsman also. In england he has a crucial role to play..

Posted by mjrvasu on (June 3, 2014, 11:49 GMT)

If anything, the selectors need to have a closer look at all the young spinners who were on view during IPL, even though IPL in itself is no benchmark for performance at the international level. That said, the days are surely numbered for Ashwin and Jadeja, and there is no chance for Bhajji for a comeback.

Posted by   on (June 3, 2014, 11:36 GMT)

And that precisely has been the problem with Harbhajan over last 5-6 years.. he feels satisfied too soon with his performance.. and hence practically closes all doors for improvement/ innovation... if he had a better attitude towards learning.. he would by now have had over 600 test wickets and India would have been a stronger force in Test arena.... and to complement the attitude, he has this uncanny habit of bragging about himself.. talks too much.. I do not see harbhajan standing any chance in Indian team...

Posted by applethief on (June 3, 2014, 11:24 GMT)

Harbhajan bowled 55 overs.... it's hardly something to get worked up over. IPL isn't how you work your way to national selection, you actually have to bowl well in a proper form of cricket

Posted by DRS_Flawed_NeedsImprovement on (June 3, 2014, 11:18 GMT)

yes, he was! Definitely not he is!

Posted by Cricketfan11111 on (June 3, 2014, 10:56 GMT)

At 33 yrs, Harbajan's age is not a barrier for a come back. After good performances in the past IPL seasons he was selected for Team india. But other spinners Jadeja, Ashwin and Ojha out performed him and he was dropped. IPL is throwing up new faces now in the spin department. Akshar Patel, Shivam Sharma, Rasool, Karn Sharma, Chahal......tough competition awaits for Bajji.

Posted by WeligG on (June 3, 2014, 10:56 GMT)

Well yeah. @ THEBEAST7 , You got a point! How come Sir jadeja and Ashwin be called as all-rounders and Harbajan a bowler? Harbajans stats are far better than that of SRJ & RA!

Posted by Srini_CricBrain on (June 3, 2014, 10:50 GMT)

He bowled well , but to say he was the best indian spinner in IPL is exaggeration. So only 5 overs were bowled uner real pressure. With all this control , he didn't pick a bucket of wickets either.His time is up. Should stick to IPL.Akshar patel was easliy the best indian spinner in IPL.

"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."

Posted by THEBEAST7 on (June 3, 2014, 10:42 GMT)

"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?"

Very true. He is an allrounder. Not a specialist bowler. WAY better than Jadeja and Ashwin

Bhajji BATTING :164 98 36 1043 78 16.82 734 142.09 0 1 102 51 48 0 Bhajji BOWLING : 164 155 3354 3704 146 5/18 5/18 25.36 6.62 22.9 3 1 0

SRJ BATTING :128 93 23 1427 48 20.38 1168 122.17 0 0 102 50 38 0 SRJ BOWLING : 128 105 1816 2340 79 5/16 5/16 29.62 7.73 22.9 2 1 0

RA BAtting : 142 44 17 318 46 11.77 296 107.43 0 0 29 7 32 0 RA BOWLING : 142 140 3118 3511 148 4/11 4/11 23.72 6.75 21.0 2 0 0

Look at the Stats. Bhajji is a far better batter than Jadeja and Ashwin. Same can be said about his bowling. He is not far away from a call up for the national duties!

Posted by Naresh28 on (June 3, 2014, 10:38 GMT)

Bhajji was more impressive than Ashwin.He should work hard to get a lookin in WC ODI squad. That should be his target. Also is a fiesty character to have in a team. He plays hard. One should not forget the experience he brings to spin bowling unit.

Posted by   on (June 3, 2014, 10:23 GMT)

This article really made me laugh! Perhaps a desparate comment by someone who lost out on the International duty. Atleast he is satisfied with his performace :)

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