Selectors will not look at me as they feel I’m too old: Harbhajan Singh
It has been 4 years since veteran off-spinner Harbhajan Singh last donned the blue for India. But the two-time World Cup winner - 2007 T20 World Cup and 2011 ODI World Cup - hasn’t lost the hopes of another comeback in the Indian side in the shortest format of the game. Harbhajan believes that he is fit and ready to play T20 cricket for India.
“I am ready. If I can bowl well in IPL, which is a very difficult tournament for bowlers because the grounds are smaller, and all the top players in world cricket play in the IPL,” ESPNCricinfo quoted Harbhajan as saying.
Despite last playing for India in a T20I in the 2016 Asia Cup, Harbhajan has been a consistent performer in the IPL. Harbhajan, who was played for Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings in IPL, is the joint third-highest wicket taker in the league with 150 scalps to his name at an economy rate of 7.05.
Harbhajan said the selectors did not have a look at him despite his IPL laurels because they think the off-spinner is too old. “They will not look at me because they feel I am too old,” he said. “Also I don’t play any domestic cricket. [In the] Last four-five years they did not look at me even though I was doing well in the IPL, taking wickets and I had all my records to back my case.
“It is very challenging to bowl against them and if you can do well against them in IPL, you can do well in international cricket. I have bowled predominantly in the powerplay and middle overs and got wickets,” he added.
Harbhajan believes that the IPL is the most difficult competition in terms of T20 cricket and said that after performing in this tournament, he believes that he can make a comeback into the Indian side.
“In international cricket, not all teams have quality players like IPL teams, where every team has a top-six which is good. Yes, Australia, England, India have all got very good batting line-ups,” Harbhajan said.
“But if I can get Johnny Bairstow and David Warner in IPL, don’t you think I can get them in international cricket? But it is not in my hands. No one comes and talks to you in this present Indian set-up,” he added.
Harbhajan played for Mumbai for ten seasons, and then after that, he was picked up by CSK for his base price of INR 2 crore.
In the 2019 IPL, the spinner managed to take 16 wickets from 11 matches at an economy of 7.09.
Harbhajan still continues to be India’s highest wicket-taker in Test cricket among active cricketers. He has taken 417 wickets in 103 Tests and was also the first Indian bowler to claim a Test hat-trick when he achieved the feat against Australia in 2001.
In ODIs, Harbhajan has taken 269 wickets in 236 matches and in T20Is, he has 25 wickets to his name in 28 appearances.