Comebacks are always hard: Harbhajan

Off-spinner fancies his chances against the inexperienced Australian lefties.


MUMBAI: Harbhajan Singh is back in the Test fold. The 32-year-old off-spinner was on Sunday selected to India’s squad for the first two home Tests against Australia and may play his 100th match at Chennai, where the series begins on February 22.

Also see: Harbhajan leads ROI to Irani win | Gambhir dropped

What made the occasion doubly joyous for Harbhajan was the fact that he had also led Rest of India to victory in the Irani Cup match against Mumbai. Speaking later, he said he was looking to resume the battle with old foes Australia, against whom he has a decidedly good record in Tests.

“It’s always nice to play against the Aussies. They have relatively new line up and a lot of left-handers who have not played Tests in India. It will be a challenge for them and we’ll put them under pressure from the first day.”

Harbhajan: back in favourHarbhajan will join R. Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha as the spinners on duty against Australia. He was dropped after India lost the Kolkata Test to England last year and was since plying his trade for Punjab in the Ranji Trophy.

“Comebacks are always hard. You need to keep believing in yourself. You never know when you’re playing in the domestic games whether you’ll be picked or not. But I worked hard in the last season and it paid off. Numbers don’t always tell you the correct story in cricket. But I think I bowled well for Punjab in the last season.

Rest of India defeated Mumbai on first innings lead, a result brought about chiefly by batsmen Suresh Raina, M. Vijay and Ambati Rayudu.

Harbhajan bowled well - particularly in the second innings - in the match for five wickets.

“This (Irani Cup) was an important match because big names were playing and it gives you the platform to make a comeback into the India team. I’m happy to be in the Test team again.

“It was important for us to do well in the first innings and get the lead. Mumbai’s only chance after that was to bowl us out cheaply in the second innings, but we batted well; Raina especially batted brilliantly in both the innings,” he added.

Harbhajan said he enjoyed bowling on the Wankhede pitch.

“There is some bounce in the track. Most of the domestic games I played last year were at Mohali where the wicket has a fair bit of grass. This (Wankhede) is a true wicket and there is always something for the bowlers. It was also good to bowl against batsmen like Wasim Jaffer, who is very good against spin.”

Harbhajan wished Rest of India’s and Delhi’s Shikhar Dhawan, who was selected to the Test squad as the third opener, the best of luck.

“Dhawan has been scoring runs on the domestic circuit for a long time. He is still young and I’m happy he has been selected. I hope he does well.”

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Furious fifties by Duminy and Dinesh Karthik end a long losing streak for the Daredevils. More »

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

Royal Challengers overcame a stutter to cruise to the small target they were set by Mumbai Indians. More »

Glenn Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell seems to project an icy disdain when at the crease. Match situations rarely faze him and the bubble in which he plays excludes everyone … More »

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

His status as president of TNCA makes him eligible to attend the Working Committee meeting on Sunday. More »

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

Kevin Pietersen's hopes of reviving his international career appeared to end Saturday when ECB managing director Paul Downton said there was 'no way back'… More »

[REWIND] The world record that nearly wasn't

[REWIND] The world record that nearly wasn't

Twenty years ago this week, Brian Lara became Test cricket's highest scorer, but he almost didn't make it. More »

Moores gets second stint as England coach

Moores gets second stint as England coach

In a two-year spell from 2007 to 2009, the 51-year-old Moores led England in seven Test series. More »

Bangladesh senior players to see shrink

Bangladesh senior players to see shrink

Bangladesh's senior players will have three sessions with a psychological skill development coach later this month More »

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

Dalmiya feels that Srinivasan’s ‘power hungry’ attitude isn’t helping matters. More »

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Kevin Pietersen has ridiculed the idea of day-night Test cricket, saying the game would be so different to proper Test cricket that we will need a whole… More »

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

The bowlers restricted Hyderabad to 133 for 6 before Rahane and Binny took Rajasthan over the line. More »

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

The 36-year-old believes the T20 format and rule changes in 50-over matches have made a real difference. More »

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

The Kings XI batsman blasted a 43-ball 95 to help his team pull off a massive chase against Chennai Super Kings. More »

BCCI members want independent probe

BCCI members want independent probe

The board members are realising after the Supreme Court's observations that something has to be done — IS Bindra More »

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

Two former BCCI presidents, Shashank Manohar and Jagmohan Dalmiya, have reacted strongly to the news of the BCCI calling an emergent meeting on Sunday… More »

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Preview — The threat of Sunil Narine looms large again. More »

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Preview — Given the firepower in both line-ups, Dubai crowd may see another high-scorer More »

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj Singh was hardly convincing to begin with against Delhi, but a big dose of crowd support and a helping of poor bowling meant he had the opportunity… More »

Stressed Trott stands down again

Stressed Trott stands down again

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday confirmed that batsman Jonathan Trott is to take another break from all cricket with immediate eff… More »

PCB starts another coach hunt

PCB starts another coach hunt

The PCB has decided to not extend the contracts of head coach Moin Khan, fielding coach Shoaib Mohammad and batting consultant Zaheer Abbas, and has invited… More »

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

England all-rounder Ben Stokes admits he must keep his anger under control if he is to end his international exile. More »

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Yuvraj Singh was back to his best in his first match for Royal Challengers Bangalore. More »

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistani cricket authorities have launched an investigation after a number of current international stars played in exhibition matches in the United States… More »

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

The BCCI will hold an emergent working committee meeting on April 20 to discuss the future course of action with regard to the Supreme Court hearing concerning… More »