Mishra should be included in place of Harbhajan for second Test: Akram

Harbhajan Singh has taken only three five-wicket hauls in his last 27 outings Getty Images

New Delhi: Jul 27, 2011

India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh came under severe criticism from Wasim Akram for his performance at Lord’s with the former Pakistan captain calling for the inclusion of leg-spinner Amit Mishra in his place.

The cricketer-turned-commentator was critical of tweaker’s effort in the series opener saying it was high time the Indian team management looked at another option.

“Harbhajan looked off-colour at Lord’s. He got very little spin, his line was also very bad. On the other hand, Graeme Swann bowled beautifully. He showed a lot of variation,” Akram said.

“I do not remember one occasion when he bowled a bad ball. I think it’s about time that Mishra came in. English batsmen have traditionally been poor against leg-spinners. Besides, Mishra is a very intelligent bowler. I saw him bowling in the IPL and he impressed me a lot. To cut it short, Mishra should play in the next match,” the former speedster told Mobile ESPN.

Harbhajan bowled 56 overs in the match but returned with just one wicket, adding yet another poor performance to his wretched run. The offie has been in poor form of late, underlined by just the three five-wicket hauls in the last 27 outings.

The bowling great also insisted that India should not risk a half-fit Zaheer Khan for the second Test at Trentbridge starting July 29. India’s pace spearhead could only bowl 13.3 overs in the first Test against England because of a hamstring injury, which proved to be a decisive factor in team’s massive 196-run defeat.

“I do not think Zaheer should play at Trent Bridge if he is not fully fit. India missed him dearly in the Lord’s Test. There is no point in going in with an unfit player. There is a warm-up coming up against Northants after the second Test and he should eye that. If he bowls without any pain, he should return to the eleven for the third Test,” Akram insisted.

Former skipper batted for Sreesnath’s inclusion in the team in place of Zaheer saying India would be better off playing the temperamental bowler instead of Munaf Patel, keeping in mind the swinging conditions at Trent Bridge.

“Both bowlers are good. Munaf gets a lot of nip and bounce because he is tall and he is also very accurate. Sreesanth, on the other hand, swings the ball a great deal but everyone knows that at times he can be wayward. But I would still go for Sreesanth because he is aggressive and can make the most of the swinging conditions,” Akram said.