Home > Features >

Harbhajan Singh has had a resurgence with Mumbai Indians in IPL 2014

Harbhajan Singh has his old form back © IANS

By Rutvick Mehta

You know Harbhajan Singh is feeling really good about himself, and his bowling in particular, when he gives those flying goodbye kisses to the batsman after taking his wicket. It’s vintage Bhajji, isn’t it?

It’s been a while since we saw that from the 33-year-old ever since he was dropped from the Indian team in March last year. Cut to Tuesday, and Royal Challenger Bangalore’s Parthiv Patel and Chris Gayle were at the receiving end of a revived Harbhajan, the terminator who seems to have found his mojo again.

Coming in to bowl the fourth over of the innings, Patel slogged him for a boundary in the second ball itself. Unperturbed, Harbhajan stuck to his flight. He got his man in the first ball of the very next over, tossing the ball up from around the wicket to hit the timber as Patel tried the slog again. He loved that wicket. The goodbye kiss followed.

But greater challengers lay ahead. Gayle took it upon himself to attack Harbhajan, smacking him for a four and a huge six three balls after Patel’s wicket. Maybe the Harbhajan of the past would’ve resorted to bowling flat, trying to stop the run-flow.

However, this was a Harbhajan high on confidence, who’s sole objective was to get the big fish. And he did it exactly how he flummoxed Gayle, tossing the ball up, slowing it up even further. Gayle missed his slog, the timber was disturbed again, Harbhajan was down on one knee, pumping his fist. He stayed there for a few seconds. He made a statement.

One of the four Indian discards who are trying to claw their way back into national reckoning in ODIs and/or Tests — Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh being the other three — the tweaker is making all the right noises in terms of performances in a format where it wouldn’t be a crime to replace the bowlers with bowling machines.

Even in Mumbai’s first home game against Kings XI Punjab, Harbhajan got two of their biggest threats, Glenn Maxwell and skipper George Bailey. He’s picked up six wickets so far in the seven matches, at an economy rate of 6.37. But it’s the manner in which he’s stepped up to become almost the leader of Mumbai’s bowling attack – especially after Zaheer Khan’s loss – that will give hope to his fans that a national recall might not be that distant a dream.

“Very happy,” MI skipper Rohit Sharma said when asked about Harbhajan’s form. “He is someone we always look forward to take wickets. What’s more pleasing to see about his bowling is that he’s flighting the ball, trying to look for wickets and not being defensive. Which is very important for us. We expect a lot from him, and he’s delivering every game.”

Maybe that’s the reason why during Friday’s practise session at the Wankhede, Harbhajan stuck to the flight in the nets, despite the likes of Ambati Rayudu and Michael Hussey taking him on. Maybe the presence of MI mentor Anil Kumble – who bowled alongside him in the net, almost reminding us of the good ol’ days — is helping him.

Bowling adjacent to their nets was Chennai Super Kings’ R Ashwin, trying his usual umpteen variations, bowling the odd short ball and even a full toss. Maybe that paints a picture, maybe that says something.

One really doesn’t know whether Harbhajan will board that flight to England or no, but rest assured, those flying goodbye kisses might just be here to stay.

Click here for IPL 2014 Points Table and Team Standings

Click here for IPL 2014 Schedule: Match time table for IPL 7

Click here for IPL 2014 Schedule & Results

Click here for IPL 2014 complete coverage

(Rutvick Mehta chose to become a journalist for his love of sports in general, and cricket in particular — the purity of Test cricket, to be precise. Tennis and hockey also excites him equally. The above article first appeared in DNA)

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 30, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Abu Dhabi

Sri Lanka tour of India, 2014

Nov 2, 2014 (13:30 IST)   at Cuttack

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 3, 2014 (09:00 IST)   at Khulna

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 5, 2014 (14:05 IST)   at Adelaide

Sri Lanka tour of India, 2014

Nov 6, 2014 (13:30 IST)   at Ahmedabad


West Indies tour of India, 2014

Nov 15, 2014  at Ahmedabad

Match cancelled

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Nov 7, 2014  at Bengaluru

Match cancelled

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 30, 2014  at Hyderabad

Match cancelled

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 27, 2014  at Hamilton

No result

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Oct 25, 2014  at Dhaka

Bangladesh won by 3 wkts


Pakistan vs Australia, 2nd Test


Tendulkar provides teaser on upcoming book

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Younis Khan’s double ton puts Pakistan on top against Australia at stumps on Day 2 of 2nd Test

Duleep Trophy 2014-15 final: Central Zone 214/4 at stumps; lead by 111 runs

Yuvraj Singh — have we seen the last of the man who won India three World Cups?

Younis Khan continues piling up records for Pakistan

KL Rahul could be opening option for India’s tour to Australia

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 Australia vs Pakistan Australia vs Pakistan 2014 Central Zone Duleep Trophy Duleep Trophy 2014-15 India Pakistan Pakistan vs Australia Pakistan vs Australia 2014 South Zone South Zone vs Central Zone Sri Lanka Sri Lanka tour of India 2014

WICB officials should visit India to minimize damage: Andy Roberts

Younis Khan: I want to be remembered as team-man

ICC World Cup 2015: New Zealand prime minister urges Indian fans to attend the tournament

Mohammad Yousuf: Muttiah Muralitharan would not have been allowed to bowl under current ICC rules

Mohammad Azharuddin’s son included in UP One-Day squad for Vijay Hazare Trophy

Don Bradman dismissed twice on the same day

Virat Kohli’s captaincy opportunities important in context of India’s succession plans

Rohit Sharma looks to strengthen career after an inconsistent year

Younis Khan equals Javed Miandad’s record of most 150+ scores by Pakistan batsman

India vs Sri Lanka 2014: Manish Pandey showing signs of fulfilling potential

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

678 Posts | 6 Fans

Video Highlights: Younis Khan century during Pakistan vs Australia 1st Test at Dubai

India A vs Sri Lanka: Fringe players look to impress

NGOs pursue education for all

Dance Basanti from Ungli: Put on your dancing shoes and practice the Basanti move!

Weight Loss Tip #59: Eat oranges to lose weight

Sensex surges 150 points in early trade to regain 27,000-mark

PricewaterhouseCoopers partners Google to offer business solutions to clients

Google X Lab working on nanoparticles to help detect diseases early

Priyanka Chopra has the best no make-up selfie on Instagram, think fans!

Lisa Haydon: I slept off midway while watching the original Shaukeen!

International programme in Animal Husbandry

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here