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Time for Harbhajan Singh to shine

Zia Rana April 13, 2012

The flagrant off spinner, Harbhajan Singh of India requires sparkling in the ongoing IPL 2012 which will pave the way for his return to the national squad.

Harbhajan Singh - Worried about his form

Harbhajan Singh - Worried about his form

Harbhajan played his last game for India in the second Test against England on July 29, 30 and 31, 2011 at Trent Bridge, Nottingham which was lost by the visitors with a huge margin of 319 runs. He was declared unfit for rest of the series because of a grade one abdominal muscle tear and returned back home for the treatment.

The right arm off spinner appeared in two Tests of the series in England and could manage just a couple of wickets at a worst average of 143.50 runs per wicket with the best of one for 22 in an innings and one for 69 in a match. He was replaced by another spinner Pragyan Ojha for the rest of the series who also remained on the sidelines on the tour.

It took time for Harbhajan to recover and the chance was provided to another young off spinner, Ravichandran Ashwin, who was knocking the doors of the national cricket since long. Ashwin made his Test debut against West Indies in the first match of the series on November 6, 2011 at Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi. Ashwin stunned the Caribbeans by grabbing 9 wickets in the match which India won by five wickets and he was declared ‘Player of the match’.

Ashwin was the find of the series for India and emerged as a brilliant all rounder with a fantastic performance against the visitors. He clinched 22 wickets at an excellent average of 22.90, the best of 6 for 47 in an innings and 9 for 128 runs in a match. The 25-year-old blossomed with the bat by smashing 121 runs getting an average of 40.33 with the best score of 103 and was declared ‘Player of the series’.

Ravichandran Ashwin has become an important member of the Indian squad in all three formats of the game and it has become difficult for Harbhajan Singh to make a comeback until and unless he make an impact on the selectors with his outstanding performance.

Harbhajan Singh was born on July 3, 1980 in Jullunder, Punjab, a right arm off spinner and a right hand batsman. He has played for India, India Green, Asia XI, Punjab, Lancashire, Surrey and Mumbai Indians.

He made his debut in international cricket by appearing in the Test against Australia on March 25, 1998 at Bangalore. He has played 98 Tests, grasped 406 wickets at an average of 32.22, the best of 8 for 84 in an innings and 15 for 217 in a match. The right hand batsman has scored 2164 runs averaging 18.65, the best of 115 with two centuries and nine fifties.

The 31-year-old took part in 229 One Day Internationals and grasped 259 wickets averaging 33.40 runs per wicket with the best of 5 for 31 runs. He has played 23 Twenty20 games and taken 18 wickets at an average of 30.05 with the best of 3 for 30 runs.

Harbhajan is leading the Mumbai Indians in the fifth edition of the Indian Premier League and remained unimpressive in the four matches played so far. He has claimed just one wicket at an average of 101.00 runs per wicket though Mumbai Indians are at the top of the table since they have won three out of four games and have accumulated six points. It is the high time for him to prove his worth while penetrating through the rival batting and becoming one of the excellent performers in the IPL otherwise he will find it difficult to become a part of the Indian squad again.

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