Harbhajan Singh laughs off age bar, targets third World cup title for India



Harbhajn Singh
Harbhajn Singh

Harbhajan Singh believes that his ‘tried and tested’ strengths are the ones he will rely on as he prepares to lay his hands on a record third world title. Harbhajan was named in India’s Twenty20 squad for the Australia tour, which will be one of the last few events ahead of the World Twenty20, to be held in India, in March. “I don’t think I need to experiment with anything like carrom ball or so. I have my core strengths which is the off-break and the doosra. It has given me results in the last 15 years and no one can take away my 700 plus international wickets from me,” Harbhajan told PTI when asked if he would unleash any special delivery with the World T20 round the corner.

Bhajji is  hurt at his omission from India’s One-day squad after an impressive performance against South Africa, but he would not speak a word on not being selected in the side. Against the Proteas he had six wickets in four matches with an economy rate of less than 5.50 per over.

“I have had a very good ODI series against South Africa. Right now, my focus is to win the World T20 for India. I have two World titles (T20 in 2007 and 50-over in 2011). So it would be really special if I can contribute for India in pursuit of a hat-trick of World titles,” said Harbhajan.

The ‘Turbanator’ is happy that one of his closest friends in the Indian team Ashish Nehra is making a comeback after four-and-a-half years. “Ashish Nehra has been a match-winner for India. He played a big part during the 2003 World Cup in South Africa and he was our unsung hero in the 2011 World Cup campaign.”

“Just check the scorebooks as to how many matches Nehra has won for the country. The semi-final at Mohali against Pakistan, where he bowled brilliantly at the death and never got selected for India for four long years,” said the 35-year-old.

For Harbhajan, “age can never be a criteria” for ignoring any individual. “It’s performance which should be the final criteria. If I am in the Indian team and in the mix for the World T20, it is because I have done well in the IPL. And what is this all fuss about age? Are we 50 who find it difficult to walk. We are 35 and still performing. People have played international cricket till 38-39 years.”

“If I am performing and fit enough for international level, that should be it. Can anyone take away the experience that I have had for so many years. I know what it takes to win international matches for the country. I have been there and done that. I still have the hunger to perform — not only with the ball but also with the bat. I would probably bat at No 7 or no 8 and I can contribute with the willow too,” said India’s third highest wicket-taker in Test cricket.