Bhajji back in India’s Test squad after 2 years
Out of favour for more than two years, veteran off-spinner Harbhajan Singh on Wednesday staged a comeback to India’s squad for the <g data-gr-id="25">one off</g> Test match against Bangladesh while the ODI team was also kept full strength for the short series.
The 34-year-old Harbhajan, who has bowled well for Mumbai Indians in the ongoing Indian Premier League, was rewarded with a berth in the 15-member squad to be captained by Virat Kohli.
Barring Harbhajan, there were no major surprises in the squad announced by BCCI Secretary Anurag Thakur after a meeting of a five-member selection committee which lasted for more than an hour.
All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja was dropped from the Test squad while Mohammed Shami, who is recovering from a knee surgery, has been left out of the ODI side. Mumbai medium pacer Dhawal Kulkarni has replaced Shami in the ODI squad.
Kulkarni has played only four ODIs so far and has taken 8 wickets.
Contrary to speculation about top players being rested, the panel headed by Sandeep Patil decided to go with full strength squads for both the <g data-gr-id="29">one off</g> Test and the three ODIs starting June 10 in Fatullah. The three ODIs will be played on June 18, 21 and 24 in Mirpur.
“Harbhajan has been discussed earlier as well. The selection committee has picked Harbhajan due to the strength of Bangladesh batting especially the number of left-handers they have. It was decided that Harbhajan should be there for these reasons. Captain Virat Kohli’s opinion was also taken on this,” Patil told reporters.
‘Feel like a new beginning for me’
It’s hard to be in the wilderness for more than two years but Harbhajan Singh was always “very confident” of once again donning the Indian cricket team’s jersey and termed his latest comeback a “fresh beginning” in a career that has spanned over 16 years. He is getting ready to come out all guns blazing in the one-off Test in Bangladesh, his first since 2013.
“It feels like a fresh beginning for me. It’s a new <g data-gr-id="55">innings</g> which I want to start on a confident note and make the best possible use of the chance that I have got,” an elated Harbhajan told PTI in an exclusive interview after he was recalled for the Bangladesh tour. “I worked hard on my bowling, on the areas that I felt I needed to work on. I had the blessings and good wishes of all those who loved me and were there by my side,” said the 34-year-old, who has 413 wickets from 101 Test matches and is only the third Indian behind Anil Kumble.
ODIs: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (c), Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, <g data-gr-id="70">Axar</g> Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Mohit Sharma, Stuart Binny, Dhawal Kulkarni.
Tests: Virat Kohli (c), Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, K L Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Wriddhimaan Saha, R Ashwin, Harbhajan Singh, Karn Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Varun Aaron, Ishant Sharma.