When Harbhajan Singh was 'rested' for the upcoming tri-series, there was a buzz that the off-spinner had been dropped on the back of his performance in the first two Tests against Sri Lanka. In a telephonic interview with HT, Harbhajan, after returning home on Thursday, spoke about his injury and other issues. Excerpts:
You struggled with your health through the tour.
The day I reached Sri Lanka, I got swine flu, but recovered in time for the first Test. While bowling in the second Test, I suffered a side strain but carried on playing. The other three bowlers haven't played much Test cricket, so I had to take on the responsibility and give it the best shot.
Then, I was running with (mental conditioning coach) Paddy (Upton) on the Galle Face Road when I felt a calf strain. From there on, I have been struggling to walk. This is why I couldn't play the third Test.
Tell us about the recovery process.
I was not supposed to walk for the first 48 hours because the muscle has a lot of spasm and to bring it down, you've just got to ice it. Because I couldn't walk, I couldn't come home. Day before I received some treatment from our physio Nitin Patel who has been treating this injury. I hope this will heal soon and I will start running again.
Is a return for the Champions League Twenty20 a possibility?
That's the only tournament we have. Before that, there is the Corporate Trophy. I would like to test myself there before I go to South Africa. But it shouldn't really be a problem because the physio told me that it would take two weeks to heal. Then, I'll have to do a lot of strengthening work for the calf. I am hoping everything goes well and I will be back to bowling and running after two weeks.
What do wickets like the one at SSC for the second
Test bring to the game?
Nothing. Not even spectators. You just can't have one-sided contests where the batsmen dominate. The seamers run in and bowl their hearts out and get nothing out of it. There should be some purchase on the first two days. Later on, if the spinners bowl well, they should get bounce, if not turn.
People say Test cricket is dying. It is because of such one-sided contests. If you look at series in Australia and England, they get a lot of results because they produce good wickets, wickets that are true. That's the way it should be everywhere.
Do you feel India and Sri Lanka are playing too frequently over the last two years?
I think in the last eight months, we have played a lot of cricket against Sri Lanka. Obviously, the batsmen get used to your bowling and the bowlers know where they're gonna play them. But I can't do much about it. I love playing cricket, so that's the way it goes. Whoever you play against, I don't mind.
Given an option, would the players like a way out?
I don't know how it is. But yes, even the Sri Lankan players feel the same. We have played each other almost every second month in the last eight months.
For an India cricketer, is it easier to ask for a break now than five years ago?
If your body is not up to the challenge, what's the point? You're going to the ground but can't do what you're supposed to. You have to be honest with yourself and say this is the reason and it needs to be rested.
Does it hurt when B S Bedi says Sehwag is the best off-spinner in India at the moment?
That's his opinion and it doesn't matter. I have heard him say a lot of things. Some people are like that; you can't change (them). All I can say is that my parents have taught me to respect elders.