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HindustanTimes Fri,29 Aug 2014

Cricket

Lack of spin talent in India worries Bhajji
HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times
New Delhi, March 02, 2014
First Published: 00:18 IST(2/3/2014)
Last Updated: 00:21 IST(2/3/2014)

India spinners' struggles abroad may not be a temporary phase. It could be a prolonged one.  Ace spinner and the third highest wicket-taker in Tests, Harbhajan Singh made it clear when he said that there isn't a spinner who could catch his eye in the domestic circuit this season.

"Frankly speaking, I haven't seen a spinner who can get the ball to turn and bounce. I haven't seen a young bowler who can give it a tweak and turn the ball on any surface," said Harbhajan.

Statistics go with him as there isn't one spinner among the top five wicket-takers in Ranji Trophy and only two amongst the top 10 on surfaces that have earned the notoriety of being slow and spin-friendly.

The dearth makes Bhajji's chances of making a comeback bright. His bowling on Saturday against Delhi in a match that Punjab won, a 2/54 (in 12 overs), wasn't eye-catching but it keeps him in the loop.

India's frontline spinners, especially R Ashwin, haven't had things going for them, and Bhajji had a measured take on it. "Well, I don't want to comment on a player who is playing with the India team. I wish him the best of luck. He will surely be back among the wickets. But variations are fine though you need to bowl your stock delivery and should turn it. An off-break bowler's stock delivery is his off-spinning delivery."  In recent times, Ashwin has drawn criticism for trying too many things to no avail, including even changing his action.

Yuvraj stars with 96*
The Punjab skipper could thank his Delhi opponents for being generous. Delhi dropped three catches (by star players), misjudged another as Punjab cantered to a six-wicket win against the hosts in the Vijay Hazare North Zone one-day league. Yuvraj, a member of India's WT20 side, hit an unbeaten 96 to guide Punjab home.

Delhi found themselves at 37/4 and then 53/5. Mithun Manhas put up another rearguard action, making 98 as Delhi reached 228. Despite the dropped catches, Delhi had Punjab on the mat before Yuvraj fired. Getting to 50 in just 63 balls, Yuvi pushed the run rate as Delhi were left clueless.


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