Mumbai v Rest of India, Irani Cup, Mumbai February 5, 2013

'The best game I've got' - Harbhajan

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Harbhajan Singh has played just one Test since the end of the England tour in the middle of 2011 and made no pretensions about the fact that he's on a comeback trail and is keen to be selected for the Test series against Australia starting later this month. The Irani Cup game against Mumbai starting on Wednesday, he said, "is the best game I've got" ahead of the series to make a lasting impression.

"I just want to be relaxed and look to bowl rather than running after wickets," Harbhajan told reporters on the eve of the Irani Cup game. "The wickets will come, today or tomorrow, but my aim is to bowl well. I'm sure I'll get those rewards if I bowl well."

Harbhajan led Punjab in five Ranji Trophy games this season, picking up 16 wickets at 32.25. He has an impressive record against Australia, picking up 90 wickets at 29.35, and shot to fame against them in 2001 in a three-match series at home in which he collected 32 wickets. "I always look forward to playing cricket, whether it's against Australia or England or Mumbai. It's one of those things that's there in my blood. I want to be there, play cricket, and enjoy the moment. Australia, I've done well against them, if I get a chance to play against them I'll try to repeat what I've done against them."

At 99 Tests, Harbhajan is just one game away from becoming the 10th Indian cricketer to have played 100 or more Tests. Though he admitted it did play on his mind, his experience, he said, has taught him to not pay undue attention to such landmarks. "Somewhere it does get into your head, you're close to 100 Test matches, even when you're batting between 90 to 100 or when you've taken four wickets and looking to get five. But somehow as a player you just need to go with the game rather than thinking too much ahead. If you just concentrate on the process, things will automatically happen for you. If not today, tomorrow it will happen.

"Last year onwards, I've been trying too many things to play my 100th Test, but when I started playing I never thought I'll come this far. I've come this far because I was just looking to enjoy the game, just looking to go back into the whole system of trying to enjoy the game and playing with lot of passion, things will start happening."

Siddhartha Talya is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • AjberTheGangulian on February 6, 2013, 15:27 GMT

    @ROXSPOT this guy is given chamber because none of the other ipl heroes do not work.. And by the by spinner's prime time start at 32...

  • AjberTheGangulian on February 6, 2013, 15:22 GMT

    Everybody very keen to comment on young blood.. Just follow first class cricket for a month you all will realise not much of international standard left there.. Anybody can pass expert comments but reality is different

  • RK.Chandru on February 6, 2013, 15:07 GMT

    wish, selectors discard these players without getting influenced by these blabbers. He's finished and let's get to see some fresh faces in the test series ahead....

  • gnanzcupid on February 6, 2013, 13:40 GMT

    harbhajan should not b sitting here in the dressing room. he should have been in the stands cheering his ipl team.

  • siddhartha87 on February 6, 2013, 11:04 GMT

    bhajji and chawla are waste as spinners.I dont know what is bhajji doing in ROI squad.He doesn't deserve to be there

  • MVSegar on February 6, 2013, 10:10 GMT

    Well giving a chance to bhajji will be a step taken backward.We don't have Murali and Warne in India.We have Ashwin and Ojha alone.So let us try and get the best out of them.That would be practical rather than expecting Mishra/Chawla/Ashwin/Ojha to take a lot of fivers.That is not gonna happen.They are still new and they need guidance.But they are the future no matter how bad they are.Let us face it.Harbhajan,is not just past his prime but also been poor in Ranji this season.

  • realfan on February 6, 2013, 8:08 GMT

    i am sorry to say, but bajji's time is over... 1) he is not in form 2) even if he is in form , he cant be lethal and cant take wickets... 3) ojah is permanent in test, dhoni wont go against ashwin , even though i feel ashwin should not be in the ANY SQUAD of INDIAN cricket.... he is just IPL....

    so there you go... no place for him....

  • MunafAhmed811 on February 5, 2013, 20:25 GMT

    Even my 11 year old nephew spins the ball nowadays more than Bhajji. I dont get it why these players refuse to accept that they are past their prime and new talented persons are ready to take over.

  • ROXSPORT on February 5, 2013, 19:10 GMT

    @ Sathish.Velu: I was talking about Harbhajan. Why is this guy repeatedly getting so many chances, when we have seen over the last three years or so that he is well past his prime?????? Is there more to what meets the eye???? Are the sponsors pulling some strings???? Or, is personal friendship counting for more????????????