Colombo: Harbhajan Singh proved that his skills are as sharp as they were in the past against England on Sunday evening. He produced a deadly spell of four wickets for 12 runs from his four overs to wreck England’s batting line up and their confidence.
Discarded because of bad form, Singh announced his revival and has given India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni a serious dilemma. Dhoni may now have to pick two off-spinners in the next match as Ravichandran Ashwin has also been among the wickets.
But Singh, being the fighter he is, may not rest until he cements his place in the team like in the past. “It’s been a hard year being out of the team. Other boys were doing really well, so it was really difficult for me to make a comeback. For me this was an important game,” he said while holding the man-of-the-match award.
Dhoni did not hesitate in showering praise on Singh, saying: “Harbhajan bowled well, especially his length, and he didn’t bowl short. He invited the batsmen to drive by pitching the ball up. He made good use of his variations, plus his mindset was very aggressive. He wasn’t particular about where he wanted fielders, he was very focused and he really wanted to do well. Again, it’s a very big positive for us because, if we are playing one batsman short, he is someone who can slog down the order. It is a very good option for us.
Dhoni continued: “Frankly, I don’t know who I will play. But I am quite happy with the problem of plenty. The selection will also depend on the wicket. If it’s a fresh wicket and a hard-rolled one, the spinners may not be that effective. We don’t really know right now what will be our first XI right now.”
Elaborating on his memorable comeback, Singh added: “I hadn’t played international cricket for a full year. It was great to get a wicket from the first or second ball. It gives you a lot of confidence.”
Singh could also not hide his joy at receiving the man-of-the-match award. “This award is for my mum and those who have stuck with me. In Twenty20 cricket, it is important to just read the game,” he said before revealing that he has made some modifications to his bowling technique.
“I have tried to cut down my run-up a bit. I was running in too fast and struggling to find my areas. So I was consciously coming in off a short run and slowly. This win and performance is everything for me. I don’t know what I would do if I was not playing for India,” he said.
Singh also thanked the Essex county team in England that signed him up after he was dropped from the Indian team. “I would like to thank the Essex people and all those who kept faith in me,” he said.