It seems battling offie Harbhajan Singh has taken a right decision by signing up with English county Essex this summer. At least, it’s a conscious effort from the Punjab tweaker to get back to where he belongs, feel few former India stalwarts.
Former off-spinners like Erappalli Prasanna and Arshad Ayub have welcomed the Turbunator’s move to play for Essex. While Prasanna was short and crisp, Ayub explained at length how it would help Harbhajan get back to his best. “Harbhajan will get a lot of matches and so he will get enough time to rectify whatever faults he has very quickly. This stint with Essex will also help him improve as bowler in different conditions,” Prasanna said.
Ayub, currently the president of Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA), spoke of the advantages of playing county, particularly during this early part of summer. “It’s a welcome opportunity for him and he should grab it with both hands. In county cricket, he will play back-to-back matches, which will do a world of good for a rhythm spinner like him. Once he plays those matches, he may get back his rhythm as well as form. There will be pressure to perform, which he is quite capable of handling after having played so many years for the country,” Ayub told SUNDAY MiD DAY.
The former India off-spinner felt that this was a good time to play in England for a spinner. “In early summer, the wickets there are drier and will be somewhat similar to Indian pitches which will help him grip the ball well. During this time, he will also get some turn from the wickets and there is every chance that he will get success there. Now, for a champion player like him, county success would boost the confidence and I don’t see any reason why he cannot succeed in top-class cricket once again,” Ayub stressed.
Another point Ayub raised was the bounce in English wickets. “There are quite a few wickets in England with a lot of bounce and that will suit his style,” he said. It may be recalled that Harbhajan had turned out for Surrey in two separate stints (2005 and 2007) and bagged a total of 57 wickets.
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