May 25, 2020
Nagraj GollapudiNews editor, ESPNcricinfo
- Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo
Harbhajan Singh will be turning 40 in July, but he believes he is fit and “ready” to play for India in T20Is. Having featured in four IPL finals with the two most successful sides in the tournament – Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings – Singh said he had the experience and skill to add value for India in the shortest format.
“I’m ready,” Singh told ESPNcricinfo in an interview, which will be published later this week. “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… 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.”
The last time Singh played for India, it was in the T20 format, in 2016, when he featured in a solitary game in the Asia Cup that preceded the T20 World Cup that year.
At present Singh is the joint third-highest wicket-taker in the IPL, with 150 strikes at an economy rate of 7.05. While Sunil Narine and R Ashwin, the big-draw fingerspinners in the league, have tried out different actions and added more variations to their repertoire, Singh has stuck to his classical offspin.
Singh said that he was hurt that the selectors hadn’t considered him despite his IPL success. “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.”
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According to Singh, IPL is the toughest tournament in T20 cricket and having excelled there, he felt he had the self-belief to return to the national side.
“In international cricket not all teams have quality players like IPL teams, where every team has a top-six which is good,” Singh said. “Yes, Australia, England, India have all got very good batting line-ups. 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 talk to you in this present Indian set-up.”
The full interview with Harbhajan Singh will be published on May 28
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