Harbhajan Singh dismisses the age talk

India’s champion off-spinner Harbhajan Singh has made it to the Twenty20 squad for the Australia tour starting next month. The recently married Harbhajan is one of the rare cricketers who made their international debut in the previous century and are still playing. However, Harbhajan believes that age shouldn’t be criteria for any cricketer’s selection. Read: Selectors spring surprise as Yuvraj, Nehra return for Australia T20Is; Raina dropped from ODIs

Speaking to PTI, the 35-year-old said, “It’s performance which should be the final criteria. If I am in the Indian team and in the mix for the World T20, it is because I have done well in the IPL. And what is this all fuss about age? Are we 50 who find it difficult to walk. We are 35 and still performing. People have played international cricket till 38-39 years.” Read: Six unexpected selections in limited-overs squads for India’s tour of Australia 2015-16

Justifying his inclusion in the side, he further added, “If I am performing and fit enough for international level, that should be it. Can anyone take away the experience that I have had for so many years? I know what it takes to win international matches for the country. I have been there and done that. I still have the hunger to perform — not only with the ball but also with the bat. I would probably bat at No. 7 or No. 8 and I can contribute with the willow too.”

Harbhajan also hailed the inclusion of the 36-year-old Ashish Nehra in the T20 squad and mentioned that he would not be experimenting enough with his bowling. “I don’t think I need to experiment with anything like carrom ball or so. I have my core strengths which is the off-break and the doosra. It has given me results in the last 15 years and no one can take away my 700 plus international wickets from me,” he said.

Harbhajan had a good ODI series against South Africa at home but the return of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja meant that there was no place for the veteran off-spinner in the side. Currently he is leading Punjab in the Vijay Hazare Trophy and the new comer to the national side Barinder Sran is playing for his side. Read: 12 facts about India’s next big left-arm pace bowling hope, Barinder Sran