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IPL 7: Harbhajan Singh waging a lone battle for Mumbai Indians

Though Harbhajan has bowled well this season, it is unlikely to translate in to an India return with the existing spin twins, Ravichanran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja doing well © IANS
Though Harbhajan Singh has bowled well this season, it is unlikely to translate in to an India return with the existing spin twins, Ravichanran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja doing well © PTI

Defending Indian Premier League (IPL) Champions Mumbai Indians are having a tournament to forget and are on the verge of being ruled of a playoff spot. R Vishal looks at veteran Off-Spinner Harbhajan Singh’s steady displays that have been one of the brightest spots in an otherwise disappointing campaign.

 

After suffering their seventh defeat of the Indian Premier League (2014), Mumbai Indians are clutching at straws for a play-off spot as the team continues their futile struggle for consistency. Even in the recent defeat against Kolkata Knight Riders, Harbhajan Singh produced yet another lion-hearted display in a losing cause.

 

More than a year after being booted of the Indian team, it must have been painful for Harbhajan to have seen Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin and Amit Mishra deliver match-winning displays that the ‘turbanator’ was once the pioneer of. Shrugging aside his obvious disappointment, coupled with Mumbai’s alarming slump since touching dizzying heights last season, Harbhajan’s performances continue to be on the ascendency.

 

In Mumbai’s encounter against Kolkata, with the body language of his team-mates drooping, Harbhajan took the wickets of Gautam Gambhir and Manish Pandey to give them a faint chance. Yet again, his frontline bowlers were unable to get regular breakthroughs and Mumbai succumbed to another loss. What was encouraging is the turn off the ‘rough’ and the skid that had been a key feature in scalping a big chunk of the 413 Test wickets was back and importantly, the off-spinner got plenty of turn .

 

Right throughout the tournament Harbhajan has been disciplined and economical. In Mumbai’s disastrous UAE leg of IPL 7, he bowled a stingy spell conceding a mere 14 runs in his quota of overs while defending a paltry score of 115. Harbhajan’s performances have seen a steady rise with each passing game.

Played  Against Overs bowled Figures
RCB

4

0/ 14
CSK

4

2/ 27
DD

4

0/23
SRH

4

0/16
RCB

4

2/33
CSK

4

0/22
SRH

4

0/27
KKR

4

2/22

Harbhajan’s fellow spinner Pragyan Ojha has been out of sorts in IPL 7 and has borne the brunt of boundary-hungry batsmen. Bhajjion the other hand has given nothing away and possesses a remarkable economy rate of 5.75. The wickets tally though only read six but that can put down to a fair share of misfortune. Importantly, the veteran has put all his experience and know-how to great use but it may well be diluted by his team’s meek campaign and could go unnoticed in the 33-year old quest to win back a place in for Team India that he once owned.

(R Vishal is a journalist and alumni of Asian College of Journalism. He can be followed on Twitter @vishhell)

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