Mumbai, Apr 26: Harbhajan Singh's wait to don the India jersey again might have been extended for few more months, by himself. With his bowling lacking bite in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL 5), Harbhajan is likely to remain out of the India squad.
The Mumbai Indians captain has been unimpressive with his bowling. With just one wicket in seven games, one wonders whether Harbhajan can ever make a comeback to the national team.
In six innings put together, Harbhajan, the Mumbai captain, has bowled 22 overs for 1/164. He has not produced economical spells which would have compensated for lack of wickets. He has been hit for 7.45 runs per over. His best is 1/16.
Other spinners in IPL, Piyush Chawla, Sunil Narine, Ravindra Jadeja, Rahul Sharma among others are far ahead of Harbhajan. Even the retired Muttaiah Muralitharan and Brad Hogg have displayed their form of the old.
Not long ago, Harbhajan and Anil Kumble were the two premier spinners in the country. There were none, who could challenge the pair in both Tests and ODIs. But since Kumble's retirement and lack of form in Harbhajan, has seen the emergence of another young and hard working offspiner, Ravichandran Ashwin.
Ashwin has undoubtedly become India's number one spin choice in all three formats of the game. Even though he did not enjoy much success in Australia Tests earlier this year, the selectors could continue with him.
The 31-year-old Harbhajan last played for India in a Test in July-August, 2011, against England. His last ODI in a blue India shirt was against the West Indies in June, 2011. In the same month, he turned out for national duty in a Twenty20 International game against the Windies.
With the World Twenty20 tournament coming up in Sri Lanka in the month of September, Harbhajan would have hoped to win back his place in the Indian team with some fine performances in IPL. But that has not happened so far.
There are still nine games for Mumbai Indians and Harbhajan has to do something extraordinary to take a bagful of wickets which will help his team and also might brighten his chances of India return.
His fans will be searching for answers. Is captaincy a burden for Harbhajan or has he lost his wicket-taking abilities? Or is there something else which is worrying the spinner.