New Delhi: The blue-eyed boy of the Board of Control for Cricket India (BCCI) for over a decade, Harjbhajan Singh despite his envious record in Test match cricket and One-Day international has a tough road ahead in the near future.

Out of form, dropped from the national squad and unable to live up the expectations in the Ranji Trophy, Bhajji needs to come up with a herculean effort to make it to the final Indian playing XI. The miseries of the Turbunator have been further compounded by the performance of his contemporaries including R Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha.

Despite 406 victims in 98 Tests the veteran cricketer has been struggling to maintain his position in the team since the World Cup. The Turbunator from Punjab is known for his aggression and doosra. This aggressive tweaker has claimed and rattled every team in almost all the cricket playing nations.

The 31-year-old off-spinner did not perform up to his potential during recently finished England tour.

Harbhajan Singh made his debut for India in March 1998 with a Test match against Australia at Bangalore and till date has played 98 Tests and 229 One Day Internationals. With 406 Test wickets at an average of 32.22 and a startling economy of 2.83 an over, Bhajji is the leading Test wicket taker among the contemporary Indian bowlers.

Harbhajan played in the first two matches of four Tests against the English side; however, he failed to prove his selection, picking 2 wickets with an expensive average of 143.50. He returned to India with an abdominal injury during the 2nd Test. 

After healing from the injury, Bhajji successfully led Mumbai Indians in the Champions League Twenty20 to win the title and he took 7 wickets in the process.

Despite giving an excellent performance in CLT20, he failed to find a place in the recently concluded 5-match ODI series against the England side where Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin performed brilliantly, and guided India to a 5-0 whitewash.

After seeing Ashwin's performance against England in ODIs, he was selected ahead of the Indian senior pro for the Test series against West Indies. Ashwin grabbed the chance and rattled the Caribbean side in the first Test at Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi, picking 9 wickets and the man of the match award on his debut.

On the other hand, Harbhajan who is leading Punjab Ranji team against Uttar Pradesh failed to claim a single wicket in the first match. In the second match, he got only wicket against Odisha Ranji team at his home ground Mohali.

Seeing his current performance in the domestic circuit, it is really hard for an experienced player like him to claim his position in the national side.

With India’s tour Down Under next in the loop it would be really hard for him to be called in the team. He needs to bowl some miraculous deliveries in the domestic matches to catch the eyes of the national selectors for the third Test against West Indies and upcoming Australia tour.

Harbhajan, who bowls flatter and faster, has not been as penetrative in Australia.
He has a mere nine wickets from four Tests. His average of 73 runs per wicket and strike rate of a wicket every 126 deliveries on Australian soil are hardly encouraging.

Amit Kumar