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Harbhajan Singh

Harbhajan Singh. (Twitter/KKRiders)
Harbhajan Singh. (Twitter/KKRiders)

“Doors Have Been Opened For Shreyas Iyer And Suryakumar Yadav In The Test Team”-Harbhajan Singh

Former India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh believes that India will make wholesale changes in their test team after the defeat against South Africa. Harbhajan also suggested alternatives for ‘out of form’ players as India will take on Sri Lanka for 2-Test match series starting on February 25 at Bengaluru.

Last week South Africa beat India by 7 wickets at Cape Town to wrap up the series by 2-1. India started the series as strong favourites as they took a lead by 1-0 in the first test at Centurion but the visitors lost their way in the remaining two tests. India’s batting has been getting criticism from all corners as they failed to put on 300 runs in any of the last two test matches.

Harbhajan Singh poses for a photograph ahead of a practice session © AFP
Harbhajan Singh © AFP

Harbhajan was quite critical of Mayank Agarwal as the Karnataka opener failed to make an impression after the fifty in the first innings at Centurion. Mayank scored 135 runs in 6 innings with an average of 22.5 which included lone fifty. So Harbhajan suggested team management to reintroduce the likes of Shubman Gill and Prithvi Shaw.

“Mayank Agarwal got six innings but he didn’t make use of the opportunity, which is a sign that some new player might come. Shubman Gill and Prithvi Shaw can be seen in the next series because six innings is more than enough for a player. Mayank is a good player whom I support but since he hasn’t scored enough so I don’t know what will be the way forward from here,” Harbhajan Singh spoke on his Youtube Channel.

Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters)
Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters)

“The way ahead from here will be difficult for Pujara and Rahane”-Harbhajan Singh

Harbhajan also stated that the expectations from Rahane and Pujara are much higher than odd fifty here and there and suggested that the team should ahead now. He believes that Iyer, who scored a hundred on his debut test, and Suryakumar should replace them.

“Rahane and Pujara played 50-run knocks in Johannesburg but expectations from seniors are much higher than this. They haven’t scored enough runs and I personally feel the way ahead from here will be difficult for them. Players like Suryakumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, who scored a hundred in the previous series are waiting for their opportunity and I feel the way Rahane and Pujara performed they have actually opened the doors for Iyer and Suryakumar,” Harbhajan said.

He also lauded the efforts of South Africa who got the better of the experienced Indian lineup.

“They didn’t have any big names in their batting line-up but still managed to beat a team like India and it is highly commendable,” he concluded.

Also read “I Am Not Worried About What Happened In That 2018 Series”-Temba Bavuma

Sachin Tendulkar
Sachin Tendulkar Photograph: Niklas Halle’n/AFP/Getty Images

Sachin Tendulkar Won’t Be A Part Of Upcoming Legends League Cricket (LLC) Starting On January 20

Sachin Tendulkar, former legendary Indian batsman is not a part of the upcoming Legends League Cricket (LLC) as confirmed by SRT Sports Management Private Limited on Saturday. The LLC is a professional cricket league meant for retired players, and it has recently announced its Indian squad for the league.

A promotional video featuring actor Amitabh Bachchan shows that Sachin Tendulkar is also going to be a part of the league, which the official spokesperson of SRT Sports rejected.

Sachin Tendulkar. (Photo Source: Twitter
Sachin Tendulkar. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Sachin Tendulkar Won’t Play In Legends League Cricket 2022; He Led India Legends To Victory In The Inaugural Road Safety World Series

Starting January 20, the LLC will feature three star-packed teams which will lock horns with each other. Sachin Tendulkar has confirmed that he won’t be part of the upcoming legend’s league cricket which will kickstart on Jan 20 in Oman. Shortly after Sachin Tendulkar’s clarification, Amitabh Bachchan posted an apology for the previous tweet and posted a corrected promotional clip for the event.

Irfan Pathan. (Photo Source: AFP)
Irfan Pathan. (Photo Source: AFP)

“The news about @sachin_rt’s participation in ‘Legends League Cricket’ is not true. The organizers should refrain from misleading cricket fans and Mr. Amitabh Bachchan,” said the official spokesperson of SRT Sports Management Pvt. Ltd.

Sachin Tendulkar had led India Legends to victory at the inaugural Road Safety World Series 2020-21. India Legends beat Sri Lanka Legends in the final of the tournament to lift the inaugural title.

Yusuf Pathan, Subramaniam Badrinath, and Irfan Pathan also tested positive for COVID after playing in the tournament for India Legends besides Sachin Tendulkar who was the first person to test Covid positive. The Master Blaster led the eventual winner-India Legends and ended as the side’s leading run-getter with 233 runs.

India Maharajas Team To Consist Of Yuvraj Singh, Virender Sehwag, And Harbhajan Singh Among Others

The Indian team will be represented by the likes of Yuvraj Singh, Virender Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh, and the Pathan brothers — Irfan and Yusuf. The team will be called The India Maharajas which will see them compete against some other star players from other nations.

LLC had earlier announced the Asia team as ‘Asia Lions’ which comprises mostly former Pakistani and Sri Lankan players including Shoaib Akhtar, Shahid Afridi, Sanath Jayasuriya, Muttiah Muralitharan, Chaminda Vaas, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Azhar Mahmood, Upul Tharanga, Misbah-ul-Haq, Mohammed Hafeez,  Mohammed Yousuf, Umar Gul and Asghar Afghan.

Shoaib Akhtar, Sanath Jayasuriya (Image Source: Twitter)
Shoaib Akhtar, Sanath Jayasuriya (Image Source: Twitter)

Regarding the World Giants team, from South Africa, the trio of Jonty Rhodes, Herschelle Gibbs, and Morne Morkel is set to feature in the tournament, much to the excitement of all fans. Interestingly, the World Giants team will have two of the most explosive batsmen who have ever graced the game of cricket in form of Chris Gayle and Kevin Pietersen. While Brett Lee is set to lead the pace attack, the side will also have two world-class left-arm spinners – Monty Panesar and Daniel Vettori.

All the matches of the tournament will take place at Muscat’s Al Amerat Cricket Stadium. The venue had also hosted six games in the 2021 Men’s T20 World Cup. The tournament will take place from January 20 to January 29.

India Maharajas

Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Irfan Pathan, Yusuf Pathan, Subramaniam Badrinath, RP Singh, Pragyan Ojha, Naman Ojha, Manpreet Gony, Hemang Badani, Venugopal Rao, Munaf Patel, Sanjay Bangar, Nayan Mongia, and Amit Bhandari.

Asia Lions

Shoaib Akhtar, Shahid Afridi, Sanath Jayasuriya, Muttiah Muralitharan, Kamran Akmal, Chaminda Vaas, Romesh Kaluwitharana, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Azhar Mahmood, Upul Tharanga, Misbah-ul-Haq, Mohammed Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Mohammed Yousuf, and Umar Gul, Asghar Afghan.

World Giants

Jonty Rhodes, Chris Gayle, Herschelle Gibbs, Brett Lee, Morne Morkel, Monty Panesar, Kevin Pietersen, Daniel Vettori (few names yet to be revealed).

Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane Image Source : GETTY IMAGE
Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane Image Source : GETTY IMAGE

Harbhajan Singh Hopes India Will Persist With Ajinkya Rahane For 3rd Test And Doesn’t Make Way For Virat Kohli

Harbhajan Singh hopes Team India will persist with under-fire middle-order batsman Ajinkya Rahane for the third and final Test against South Africa. The veteran off-spinner Harbhajan Singh had pulled down curtains on his illustrious career as he announced his retirement from all forms of cricket, a few days ago.

Ajinkya Rahane was dismissed for a golden duck in India’s first innings of the Johannesburg Test. However, he bounced back in the second essay to score an enterprising half-century which helped Team India set a decent fourth-innings target for the Proteas which, however, went in vain.

Harbhajan Singh poses for a photograph ahead of a practice session © AFP
Harbhajan Singh poses for a photograph ahead of a practice session © AFP

Harbhajan Singh Hopes Ajinkya Rahane Should Be Given Another Chance In Cape Town After Fifty In 2nd Innings Of 2nd Johannesburg Test

In a video shared on his YouTube channel, Harbhajan Singh expressed hope that Ajinkya Rahane does not have to make way for Virat Kohli for the Cape Town Test against South Africa.

He said: “The good thing that happened in the Johannesburg Test was that runs came from Ajinkya Rahane’s bat in the second innings. I hope Ajinkya Rahane is given another chance in Cape Town. It should not happen that Virat Kohli comes in and Ajinkya Rahane is made to sit out.”

Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters)
Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters)

The former India cricketer was also happy that Cheteshwar Pujara was amongst the runs in the Johannesburg Test.

Harbhajan Singh elaborated: “I will want Rahane to score runs, to convert the fifty to a hundred, so that his confidence will be better for the upcoming series. The sword is hanging over the necks of Ajinkya Rahane and Pujara. So, it felt good that both of them scored runs and batted with responsibility.”

Cheteshwar Pujara scored 53 runs off 86 deliveries and stitched together a 111-run partnership for the third wicket with Ajinkya Rahane. It was also Cheteshwar Pujara’s fastest Test fifty away from home. Cheteshwar Pujara scored 53 while Ajinkya Rahane played a fluent knock of 58 runs off 78 balls but India expects more from them.

Kagiso Rabada accounted for the downfall of Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara at a time when India was cruising with a 111-run partnership. The 26-year old’s dream spell had changed the course of the game and had created faith for the batters to chase down a score of 240 in the fourth innings.

Harbhajan Singh Hopes The Fifties By Cheteshwar Pujara And Ajinkya Rahane Gets Converted To Hundred

While observing that both Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane have served Indian cricket for a considerable period, Harbhajan Singh highlighted that the latter in particular had a poor 2021 with the bat.

He stated: “Both of them are formidable players, it does not need to be mentioned. They have been in the Indian team for a long time and have secured a permanent place for themselves although Ajinkya did not have a good last season, he didn’t score the big runs.”

Hanuma Vihari
Hanuma Vihari— AP Photo

The recently retired off-spinner concluded by lauding Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara for delivering under intense pressure.

Harbhajan Singh observed: “I hope those fifties would have been converted to centuries but it’s good to see that both of them are gaining their confidence. I know there is a lot of pressure when a player is not in form but I think you guys have done a commendable job.”

Ajinkya Rahane averaged a lowly 20.82 with the bat in 2021. With Hanuma Vihari playing fighting knocks in both innings at the Wanderers, the team management will have a tough selection choice if Virat Kohli is fit and available for the Cape Town Test.

Virat Kohli missed out on the 2nd Test due to an upper back spasm so Hanuma Vihari got a chance. It was his first Test match since that marathon match-saving effort in Sydney in the new year’s Test match last year. In the first innings, he scored a laborious 53-ball 20 before getting caught on a short leg off Kagiso Rabada, and in the second innings, he looked quite assured with a solid knock of unbeaten 40 as he was left stranded.

Harbhajan Singh. (Twitter/KKRiders)
Harbhajan Singh. (Twitter/KKRiders)

Harbhajan Singh Doesn’t Think South Africa Has The Ability To Beat India 2-1

Harbhajan Singh believes South Africa will not pose too big a challenge for Team India in the third and final Test to be played in Cape Town.

The Indian team took a 1-0 lead in the three-match series by registering a convincing 113-run win in Centurion. However, the hosts bounced back to level the series with an equally comprehensive seven-wicket win at the Wanderers.

Harbhajan Singh poses for a photograph ahead of a practice session © AFP
Harbhajan Singh poses for a photograph ahead of a practice session © AFP

Harbhajan Singh Doesn’t Think South Africa Has The Ability To Beat India 2-1 At Cape Town Where The Conditions Will Suit India

In a video shared on his YouTube channel, Harbhajan Singh opined that the Indian team should put it across the Proteas at the Newlands.

He reasoned: “I don’t think this South African team has the ability to beat India 2-1 there. I feel the conditions in Cape Town will also suit India, the spinners will also come into the game. I hope Team India will rock there.”

Rishabh Pant. File | Photo Credit: AFP
Rishabh Pant. File | Photo Credit: AFP

The former India spinner wants a bigger contribution from Rishabh Pant with the bat in the Cape Town Test.

Harbhajan Singh elaborated: “I would want runs to come from Rishabh Pant’s bat. It seemed he was in a hurry while batting. I feel he can contribute more if he gives himself a little more time. We all know that he is an attacking player but you need to first tire the bowler and then attack him.”

Rishabh Pant played a reckless shot even before he opened his account in the second innings of the Johannesburg Test. He danced down the track off the third delivery he faced from Kagiso Rabada and played an ugly hoick, only to get an edge to the wicket-keeper.

Rishabh Pant had a lean patch in Test cricket since his last hundred at Ahmedabad. In 4-match series in England, he scored just 146 runs in 7 innings while in this ongoing series he scored just 59 runs in 4 innings. Rishabh Pant had scored 274 runs at an average of 68.50 in five innings for India against Australia in 2020/21 Down Under.

The keeper continued his form against England at home where he hit 270 runs at an average of 54.00 as he was the second-highest run-getter for India in the series. But since the end of the home Test series against England, Rishabh Pant has played seven Tests, all away from home, and has averaged a mere 19.23.

Harbhajan Singh: The 2nd Test Match Too Was Also In India’s Grasp

Reflecting on the second Test between the two sides, Harbhajan Singh lauded South Africa’s excellent run chase in the fourth innings. Harbhajan Singh feels Team India should have won the Johannesburg Test as well.

He said: “I was feeling the match was in India’s grasp, that they could win. But hats off to South Africa. They did not have an experienced batting lineup but the way they batted while chasing in the second innings is commendable.”

The “Turbanator” was particularly effusive in his praise for South African skipper Dean Elgar.

Harbhajan Singh explained: “Their opener Elgar played an excellent knock. It was necessary for him to play till the end. If he had gotten dismissed, the result would probably have gone in India’s favor.”

Dean Elgar punches the air after hitting the winning four AFP via Getty Images
Dean Elgar punches the air after hitting the winning four AFP via Getty Images

Dean Elgar played an unbeaten 96-run knock in South Africa’s second innings to take his team across the finish line. The gritty opener took numerous blows to his body but kept the Indian attack at bay during his more than five-hour vigil at the crease.

Dean Elgar, the South African skipper, claims that he is willing to put his body on the line for his country. Dean Elgar played a gritty knock of 96 runs to guide South Africa to a 7-wicket win over India to level the series 1-1. The series decided will now be played on January 11 in Cape Town.

Harbhajan Singh’s India debut was against New Zealand at Sharjah in 1998 and he played his last game for the country in March 2016 during a T20I against the UAE at Dhaka. The veteran off-spinner Harbhajan Singh pulled down curtains on his illustrious career as he announced his retirement from all forms of cricket, a few days ago.

He represented India in 103 Tests, 236 ODIs, and 28 T20Is and was also a part of the 2011 World Cup-winning squad. He retired with 417 Test wickets, 269 ODI scalps, and 25 wickets in T20Is. Harbhajan Singh played for Kolkata Knight Riders after a successful stint with Chennai Super Kings in the IPL. He played 3 matches for KKR in 2021 but was seen as a mentor figure for young spinners in their run to the final in the UAE.

Harbhajan Singh poses for a photograph ahead of a practice session © AFP
Harbhajan Singh poses for a photograph ahead of a practice session © AFP

Some BCCI officials Didn’t Want Me And MS Dhoni May Have Supported That- Harbhajan Singh

Former India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh believes if he got the backing of BCCI, his career would have blossomed more. The 41-year old recently announced his retirement from all forms of cricket. In an interview with Zee News, Harbhajan said if he was backed well, he would have added another 100-150 Test wickets to his name.

Some BCCI officials Didn't Want Me And MS Dhoni May Have Supported That- Harbhajan Singh 1
Photo Credit: Getty Images.

“Luck has always favoured me. Just some external factors were not by my side and maybe they were completely against me. This is because of the way I was bowling or the rate at which I was moving ahead. I was 31 when I took 400 wickets and if I would have played another 4-5 years, keeping in mind the kind of standards I had set for myself, I can tell you that I would have taken another 100-150 wickets or more,” Harbhajan said in an interview with Zee News.

Harbhajan was an integral part of the Indian team in all 3 formats until he had to leave the England tour midway due to an injury in 2011. Since then the selectors moved on from him though he did get odd games here and there.

The former off-spinner believes that Dhoni might have supported the decision (to drop him) but ultimately it’s the selectors’ call.

“Yes, MS Dhoni was the captain then but I think this thing was above Dhoni’s head. To a certain extent, there were some BCCI officials who were involved in this and they didn’t want me and the captain may have supported that, but a captain can never be above the BCCI. The BCCI officials have always been bigger than the captain, coach or the team,” he said.

Ravichandran Ashwin and Harbhajan Singh
Ravichandran Ashwin and Harbhajan Singh PTI Photo by Shailendra Bhojak (PTI9_25_2015_000078A)

The 41-year also pointed out that Dhoni had got better backing in the last stage of his career as opposed to his seniors like Laxman, Dravid, Sehwag, and many others.

“Dhoni had better backing than other players; and if the rest of the players would have got the same kind of backing, then they would have played as well. It wasn’t as if the rest of the players forgot to swing a bat or didn’t know how to bowl all of a sudden. The big names like VVS (Laxman), Rahul (Dravid), Viru (Virender Sehwag), and many others who took retirement later didn’t get the chance,” he pointed out.

Harbhajan played his last game for India in an Asia Cup match in 2016 while the last time he represented India in red-ball cricket was way back in 2015. He finished his career with 711 wickets in international cricket which includes 417 Test wickets.

He also showed his desire to have a biopic made on his journey.

“I would like a film or a web series made on my life so that people can also know my side of the story, what kind of a guy I am, and what I do. Can’t say who would be the villain!” he said.

Also read Unless You Give Him A Chance, You Won’t Know What To Expect Of Him- MSK Prasad Backs Selectors’ Call To Make Jasprit Bumrah Vice-Captain

Indian cricketers Rishabh Pant (L) and Shubman Gill (R) (Photo by Indranil MUKHERJEE / AFP)
Indian cricketers Rishabh Pant (L) and Shubman Gill (R) (Photo by Indranil MUKHERJEE / AFP)

Ravi Shastri Reveals Rishabh Pant And Shubman Gill Were Having A Chat Before India Chased 328 On 5th Day To Breach Gabba Fortress

Ravi Shastri, the coach of the Indian team during the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2021/21 recalled an interesting occurring during the tea interval on Day 5, which confirmed his belief that India was going to go for the jugular. India’s three wicket-win against Australia at The Gabba in January of 2021 will go down as arguably their greatest Test victory of all time.

With most major stars missing, chasing a stiff odd target of 328 on the final day at a venue where Australia had not lost a Test match since 1988, Rishabh Pant led India to a memorable win that will go down in history and perhaps be talked about in the same breath as VVS Laxman’s 281 and Harbhajan Singh’s hat-trick from the famous Eden Gardens Test at Kolkata in 2001.

Ravi Shastri Image Source : AP
Ravi Shastri Image Source: AP

Ravi Shastri Said Rishabh Pant And Shubman Gill Were Having A Chat Before Their Respective Innings Of 91 And Unbeaten 89 Saw India Breach The Gabba Fortress

A documentary about the famous series might well be on its way, but there is nothing more fascinating than hearing the inside stories of the events that transpired from the horse’s mouth. Coach of the Indian team during the series, Ravi Shastri recalled an interesting occurring during the tea interval on Day 5 of the Brisbane Test, which confirmed his belief that India was going to go for the jugular.

“I thought that was unbelievable, especially on that last day. I always knew at tea time, when we were three down, that it’s pointless telling Rishabh anything. I can’t tell you what the conversation was. From upstairs I went to the loo. These 2 young boys were having a chat – Gill, and Pant. Gill had batted magnificently to set it up with a brilliant 90,” Ravi Shastri said on the ‘Bold & Brave The Ravi Shastri Way’ show on Star Sports.

Shubman Gill Photo Credit: (BCCI)
Shubman Gill Photo Credit: (BCCI)

“I stopped and listened and walked straight past, and I said ‘keep going’. Did not say a word. I knew in my mind they were going for it. I endorse that kind of cricket. In trying to do that you might lose, but if you pull it off, that’s the ultimate heist. That’s what we did there.”

India’s win at ‘The Gabba fortress’ earned them a second consecutive Test series win in Australia, having won the earlier Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2-1 in 2018/19. Shubman Gill’s 91, Rishabh Pant’s 89*, Cheteshwar Pujara’s 56 handed Australia their first defeat at Gabba in 32 years

Rishabh Pant’s Unbeaten 89 Saw India Win At The Gabba To Win Series 2-1

After putting a fine stand with half-centurion Cheteshwar Pujara, Rishabh Pant batted brilliantly with the tail and remained unbeaten on 89 en route to giving Indian cricket one of its most cherished moments under the sun.

Rishabh Pant. File | Photo Credit: AFP
Rishabh Pant. File | Photo Credit: AFP

Rishabh Pant’s match-winning unbeaten knock took India home with three overs to spare on the final day. With fickle weather predicted for Brisbane and a cracked-up Day 5 pitch on offer, conventional wisdom suggested that either a draw or a defeat were the only two possible scenarios for Team India. 324 runs from 98 overs in the final day’s play at the Gabba looked like a mountain to climb. India managed 4/0 in 1.5 overs on Day 4.

Shubman Gill and a defiant Cheteshwar Pujara took India to lunch at 83/1. Rishabh Pant, the wicket-keeper batsman walked in at No.5 ahead of Mayank Agarwal at the fall of stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane’s wicket and scored an unbeaten 89.

With India needing 49 runs from 42 balls, Washington Sundar (22 off 29) played his part as India won in the 97th over of their innings. A bruised and heavily depleted Indian team recovered from being shot out for 36 in an embarrassing defeat in the opening Test to win the series 2-1 in Australia.

India 329 for 7 (Gill 91, Pant 89*, Pujara 56, Cummins 4-55) and 336 beat Australia 369 and 294 by three wickets

Harbhajan Singh. (Twitter/KKRiders)
Harbhajan Singh. (Twitter/KKRiders)

Harbhajan Singh Feels The South African Team Is No Match To The Indian Team

Harbhajan Singh feels the current Indian unit is too strong for a relatively inexperienced South African side and that the hosts are no match for Virat Kohli’s team.

Former spinner Harbhajan Singh feels India has a solid chance to win their maiden Test series in South Africa.

Harbhajan Singh poses for a photograph ahead of a practice session © AFP
Harbhajan Singh poses for a photograph ahead of a practice session © AFP

Harbhajan Singh: India Has The Bowlers To Take 20 Wickets

Comparing the previous Indian tours to the one underway currently, Harbhajan Singh reckons India, unlike the previous years, have the bowling attack to take 20 wickets in a Test and given the form their premier pacers Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami are in, the Men in Blue stand a terrific chance of scripting history.

“We’ve spoken about it earlier as well that this series will present plenty of opportunities against South Africa. When India used to tour South Africa earlier, it seemed as if they are traveling to play in very difficult conditions, but now the irrespective of the scenario in South African cricket, India has the bowlers to take 20 wickets. Shami picked five wickets and bowled splendidly in the second innings. Bumrah took crucial wickets on Day 4 evening,” Harbhajan Singh said.

Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah (AP Photos)
Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah (AP Photos)

Virat Kohli-led India scripted history on Thursday, defeating South Africa by 113 runs to register their first-ever Test match triumph in Centurion. Mohammed Shami led the bowling charge for India in Centurion, claiming eight wickets, while Jasprit Bumrah snared five.

KL Rahul received the Player of the Match award for his 123 (260) in the first innings before the Indian pace bowling quartet of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, and Shardul Thakur helped in dismissing the hosts within 200 runs twice in both innings. The four pacers picked up 18 of 20 wickets.

Harbhajan Singh: It’s Current Indian Team’s Best Opportunity To Win A Test Series In South Africa

Predicting the outcome of the Test series, in which India at present leads 1-0 with two more games to go, the former off-spinner has backed Virat Kohli-led Indian team to claim the series. India has never won a Test series in South Africa to date.

“Overall, if you look at it, this South Africa team is no match to the current Indian unit. I feel this is a very strong Indian team and like I had said earlier, this is their best opportunity to win a Test series there. If they can’t win it this time around, it will be very difficult. The start though has been very good and, in the time to come, India will win at least one of the next two games and take the series,” explained Harbhajan.

Indian test team[photo: Twitter]
Indian test team[photo: Twitter]
The second will start at The Wanderers in Johannesburg on January 3, followed by the final Test in Newlands, Cape Town starting January 11.

Virat Kohli in action during the third day of the WTC final against New Zealand. (File)
Virat Kohli in action during the third day of the WTC final against New Zealand. (File)

Virat Kohli’s Team Goes To Australia Thinking To Win Unlike MS Dhoni: Harbhajan Singh

Virat Kohli may have not won an ICC trophy with India, but there is no doubt that he has taken this team to unprecedented heights in world cricket. With 39 Test wins, he is India’s most successful Test captain of all time, and with him in charge, the Indian team has accomplished distinctions that not too many thought it could.

From winning a Test series in Australia to having England on the mat earlier this year, the Test skipper has transformed India into a formidable unit. Former India cricketer Harbhajan Singh on Monday shared the perfect anecdote to show how the Indian Test captain played the role of a leader and shaped this present India team.

Harbhajan Singh poses for a photograph ahead of a practice session © AFP
Harbhajan Singh poses for a photograph ahead of a practice session © AFP

Harbhajan Singh: In Virat Kohli’s Captaincy, Indian Team Goes To Australia Thinking To Win Test Series

Harbhajan Singh said that Virat Kohli’s aggressive attitude on-field goes with Team India besides admitting that it perfectly suits this team and that they need more players like him to lead this Indian team forward.

“It suits perfectly actually and we need players like him in the team to can take the team forward. When team used to go to Australia, they used to think about how to save the Test match. In Virat’s captaincy, team goes to Australia thinking how they can win the Test series,” he said.

Virat Kohli, Image Source : AP IMAGE
Virat Kohli, Image Source: AP IMAGE

Veteran spinner Harbhajan Singh has played a lot of cricket under MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli. A few days after announcing his retirement from all forms of cricket, the ace spinner pointed the difference between the two leaders. Harbhajan Singh reckoned had Virat Kohli been as soft as MS Dhoni, he would not have scored so many runs. The veteran spinner also confessed that when MS Dhoni was leading the side in Australia, the goal was to draw the Test.

Harbhajan Singh ended his glittering 23 years career as the fourth-highest wicket-taker from India in Tests with 417 wickets and fifth among Indian bowlers in ODIs with 269 scalps. Harbhajan Singh played a key role in the historic Kolkata Test in 2001, wherein he picked up a match haul of 13 wickets and became the first-ever Indian bowler to take a Test hat-trick.

He played a key role in helping India win the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007 and was later instrumental in India becoming the first team to win a World Cup at home in 2011.

Virat Kohli’s Aggressive Approach Made Him The Player He Is Nowadays: Harbhajan Singh

The veteran spinner, who announced his retirement last Saturday, recalled one of his conversations with Virat Kohli hinting towards the latter’s Adelaide knock of 141 in 2014 against Australia where the 33-year-old had stressed India’s need to fight and win series in overseas conditions and not aim to save the Test.

“I remember in one of those series, where he had scored a lot of runs, although India had lost the Test series. India had to chase some 400 runs in that match and Kohli had scored a big century. So when he returned to the pavilion I told him that match could have ended in a draw, but he replied that ‘there is no importance of a drawn Test, either you win or you lose and the day we learn to fight, we will learn to win and someday we will’,” Harbhajan recalled. 

Virat Kohli with MS Dhoni Aijaz Rahi / AP
Virat Kohli with MS Dhoni Aijaz Rahi / AP

“And that is the change you have noticed in this Indian side. They went to Australia and beat them twice, they played well in England and I hope they beat South Africa in this series. So Kohli has perfectly played his role as a leader. And the aggressive approach, that has made Kohli the player he is today. Had he been soft like MS Dhoni, I don’t think he would have scored these many runs.”

India did lose that series in 2014 where the current Test skipper had taken over the captaincy from MS Dhoni following his shock retirement post the Adelaide game, but four years later, he led the team to a historic Test series win Down Under, which was India’s first-ever win in Australia.

The team emulated the feat in the 2020/21 series as well, despite missing most, if not all their regular players, which included a famous Gabba win. The regular skipper too had taken a paternity leave after playing only the 1st Test which India lost comprehensively.

File image of S Sreesanth Image Source: Getty Images.
File image of S Sreesanth Image Source: Getty Images.

S Sreesanth Named In Kerala’s Preliminary Squad For Ranji Trophy 2021/22, To Return To Red-Ball Cricket After 9 Years

S Sreesanth is set for another comeback in domestic cricket after being named in Kerala’s preliminary squad for Ranji Trophy 2021/22. S Sreesanth hasn’t played a red-ball fixture since the 2013 Irani Cup.

Nearly 9 years after his previous red-ball appearance, S Sreesanth looks set to make another comeback to the format as he has been included in Kerala’s preliminary Ranji Trophy squad for the 2021/22 season. S Sreesanth didn’t play any of the white-ball fixtures for Kerala this season. But he now looks set for a mega comeback.

S Sreesanth has already made it clear that he intends to resume at least his domestic career.© Instagram
S Sreesanth has already made it clear that he intends to resume at least his domestic career.© Instagram

S Sreesanth Excited Like U19 Boy After Being Picked In Kerala’s Squad For Ranji Trophy, His Previous Red Ball Match Came During Irani Cup 2013

Reacting to his inclusion in the squad, S Sreesanth said that he is as excited as he was when got the red ball for the first time as a U-19 boy. S Sreesanth had made his first-class debut in the 2002/03 season and made his Test debut against England in 2006. Speaking via video, the 38-year-old thanked fans for their support and stated that it was great to “be back in the whites again”.

“Hi! Good afternoon and thank you very much for the love and support. Its great to be back in the whites again, bowling red ball, that too for my state where it all started”, he said.

“I’m really excited just like the U19 boy who got the red ball for the first time”, he concluded.

S Sreesanth has played 53 ODIs for India.© Facebook
S Sreesanth has played 53 ODIs for India.© Facebook

S Sreesanth’s previous red-ball appearance came in the high-profile final of the Irani Cup 2013. He was part of the Harbhajan Singh-led Rest of India squad, which included the likes of Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, Ambati Rayudu, Suresh Raina among others.

They were up against Abhishek Nayar-led Mumbai. The Mumbai squad included the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Shardul Thakur to name a few. Should S Sreesanth make it to the final XI, he will return to 4-day cricket for the first time in 9 years.

After his ban was lifted, S Sreesanth returned to competitive cricket in the 50 over and 20 over domestic trophies. S Sreesanth took 4 scalps in 5 games in Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 2020/21 and picked 13 scalps, including a 4 wicket and a 5 wicket haul in 6 games in Vijay Hazare Trophy 2020/21 on his return to domestic cricket.

S Sreesanth made his international debut in 2005, in an ODI against Sri Lanka in Nagpur. He became part of Indian cricketing folklore when he took the catch of Pakistan’s Misbah-ul-Haq to seal the Indian team’s victory in the inaugural 2007 T20I World Cup final. He was also part of the playing XI that lifted the 2011 50-over World Cup four years later.

Sachin Baby Named Kerala’s Skipper Which Includes Sanju Samson And Jalaj Saxena

The right-arm pacer has 211 wickets in 73 first-class matches he has played so far. In 27 Tests, he has dismissed 87 batsmen. S Sreesanth’s previous Test appearance for Team India came back in 2011 against England.

Sachin Baby has been named as the captain of the Kerala cricket team for the upcoming tournament. He will be assisted by Vishnu Vinod, who will also don the gloves. Sanju Samson will have much responsibility to score runs. The Kerala squad also includes Jalaj Saxena and Basil Thampi.

Sanju Samson
Sanju Samson (Image Credit: Twitter)

Kerala kick off its campaign against Vidarbha on January 13. They will next face Bengal, Rajasthan, Tripura, and Haryana. Kerela will be playing their fixtures in Bengaluru.

In the longer version, his finest moment came when he claimed eight wickets in India’s maiden Test win in South Africa – Johannesburg 2006. S Sreesanth ended his international career with 27 Tests, 53 ODIs, and 10 T20Is, claiming a total of 169 scalps. He picked up 87, 75, and seven wickets respectively.


No One Cared About My Side Of The Truth In The Whole Episode- Harbhajan Singh Opened Up On ‘Monkeygate’

As Harbhajan Singh called it a day of a 23-year long career, he has promised to reveal his side of the story on the most controversial chapter of his career i.e. Monkeygate. The ace spinner never spoke about it openly but he promised that he would reveal the truth in his upcoming autobiography.

On the final day of the Sydney Test in 2008, Australian captain Ricky Ponting complained to the umpires that Harbhajan Singh racially abused Andrew Symonds by calling him ‘Monkey’.The matter went into the courtroom.

No One Cared About My Side Of The Truth In The Whole Episode- Harbhajan Singh Opened Up On 'Monkeygate' 2
Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds (file photo)

“It was something that was uncalled for. Whatever happened during that day in Sydney shouldn’t have happened and also what it led to. It was really unnecessary. But forget about who said what. You and I both know the truth has two sides,” Harbhajan Singh told PTI.

“No one cared about my side of the truth in the whole episode. No one cared what I went through in those few weeks and how I was mentally sinking. I have never extensively given my side of the story but people will know about it in my upcoming autobiography. What I went through shouldn’t have happened to anyone,” he further added.

Ravichandran Ashwin and Harbhajan Singh
Ravichandran Ashwin and Harbhajan Singh PTI Photo by Shailendra Bhojak (PTI9_25_2015_000078A)

When asked about any regrets, Harbhajan said that nobody stood for him in tough times otherwise he would have served Indian cricket longer. Notable that an injury in England tour (2011) cut short his career as India moved on with R Ashwin in the next home series. Then Harbhajan got a chance in odd games here and there and slowly faded away.

“If at that point, if someone would have cared for me and in a broader sense, how Indian cricket handled its players, may be my career could have been different. But no regrets. Those who were decision makers did what they felt was right. So I have nothing to say. Yes, I was bitter back then but when I now look at things, no bitterness,” he said.

The off-spinner finished his career with 417 Test wickets, 269 ODI wickets, and 25 T20I wickets.

Also read Harbhajan Singh Was Always A Captain’s Delight- Sourav Ganguly

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