Sourav Ganguly, the former India captain, has said that offspinner Harbhajan Singh has the ability to lead the national team following his showing for his IPL franchise, Mumbai Indians. Harbhajan has not featured in India's Test or ODI squad since August 2011.
He returned home mid-way through India's 4-0 Test whitewash in England, after picking up an abdominal muscle strain, and was not picked for the home series against England and West Indies, the tour of Australia or the Asia Cup. However, during this period he had captained Mumbai Indians, in place of an injured Sachin Tendulkar, to the Champions League T20 title. Earlier this week, in wake of Tendulkar's decision to stand down from the post just before the start of IPL V, he was named the franchise's permanent captain.
"Harbhajan's captaincy was brilliant in the Champions League and yesterday too," Ganguly told PTI, referring to the opening game of the IPL, in which Mumbai Indians beat Chennai Super Kings by eight wickets. He said Harbhajan's body language as captain had been "terrific". "He has the ability to lead India some day. I have always said I will have Harbhajan in my side."
Ganguly also said Tendulkar was a "reluctant" leader. "We have seen in the past that he [Tendulkar] is a reluctant captain. It's his personal decision. And also, it has got to do with Bhajji [Harbhajan] winning the Champions League."
As captain of the Pune Warriors IPL team, Ganguly will go up against Harbhajan when Warriors take on Mumbai Indians on Friday at the Wankhede Stadium.