Bangalore, Nov 27: India's off-spinner Harbhajan Singh might face the axe sooner than later if he doesn't perform well in the third Test against England, as the selectors have given him another opportunity to perform.
Harbhajan Singh, who returned to the national Test side after a year, failed to create an impact on a spin-track at Mumbai, got another opportunity despite his unimpressive 2/84 in Mumbai, but the selectors' decision to select the squad only for the third Test sends out a clear message to the players as they might not get another lifeline, if they fail at Eden Gardens.
While youngsters Monty Panesar, Graeme Swann and Pragyan Ojha could exploit the conditions well, the most experienced of the lot failed to get the breakthroughs, as India were humiliated at Mumbai as England won by 10 wickets on the fourth day, at Wankhede Stadium on Monday.
With Ashwin and Ojha performing well this year, with 29 wickets (6 matches) and 27 wickets (4 matches) respectively, ensure that they are going to retain their places, while Harbhajan is under the scanner, after his unimpressive comeback at Mumbai.
Since all the odds are against Harbhajan, there is a dire need for him to perform in order to cement his place in the national team, after getting a Test recall.
Harbhajan last played a Test against England in July 2011 at Nottingham, before making a comeback at Mumbai, but failed to create an impact as he hardly exploited the conditions, especially on a track that assisted spinners.
Interestingly England spinners claimed 19 wickets between them in the second Test at Mumbai, while Indian spinners were able to get only 9 wickets, which suggests that Indians did not do their job well which also puts Harbhajan under the scanner, as he could get only two wickets in the Test match.
Looks like the door will be closed for Harbhajan, if he doesn't perform against England at Eden Gardens, Kolkata
With Amit Mishra, Piyush Chawla performing consistently in the domestic circuit, selectors might consider them if Bhajji doesn't perform well at Eden Gardens.