Return of the Turbanator

Chennai: Harbhajan Singh returned to form as his three wickets helped Chennai Super Kings tumble the Royal Challengers in the season opener of the IPL season 12 at MA Chidambaram Stadium, here on Saturday.

Last year in every match that had CSK won, it was different individuals who stepped up in every game, helping the team clinch victory. Last year, Harbhajan Singh didn’t get to play many games and at the start of the new season now, it was the turn of the Turbanator to hog the limelight.

Coming into the match after a seven-match wicketless streak in T20s, it was Harbhajan’s day out as he snatched the key wickets of Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers and Moeen Ali to demoralise the opposition batting.

Speaking at the post-match conference, the man of the match, who looked relieved after picking wickets said, “It’s always nice to come back to Chepauk and to be in the winning side and contribute for the team. Really happy and glad to take the wicket of Kohli, Virat and Moeen and this is a kind of performance that is expected from me, being a senior bowler in the team. It’s always nice to get wickets under your belt. You get a lot of confidence especially for someone like me who don’t play a lot of cricket. Hopefully, I can contribute in the upcoming games as well.”

Harbhajan was of the opinion that the slow and low track was something that the team did not expect. “We played a practice game here and the wicket was quite good a lot of guys were hitting sixes, but the wicket turned a little more than we had expected. Nobody actually knew how the wicket will play and luckily we won the toss and by the time RCB realised the turn, they were three down. It was a wicket which was holding a bit and it was difficult to bat. However, we would have liked to play on a wicket that obviously didn’t spin much. I will be more happy to bowl on
wickets like this but it comes down to the team and I am sure from the next game onwards we will get to see the old Chepauk wicket,” he said.

Harbhajan’s three-wicket burst comes at a time when the finger spinners are slowly losing their relevance in limited overs cricket. Harbhajan hower feels that finger spinners can be a vital cog in the team provided they get the backing.

“Wrist spinners have three to four variations like leg break, googly and flippers and topspin. New generation feels that spinners who could turn the balls both sides have more chances than a finger spinner but it is obviously their mentality. I have played all my cricket as a finger spinner and quite happy with whatever I have achieved. I feel they
have a role to play provided they get the backing.”

“Most of the new generation spinners don’t look to spin the ball. As long as you look trio spin the ball you are there in the game and someone like Jadeja is always in the game as long as he is looking to spin the ball and I believe he can play a major role for India in World Cup,” said the former India player.


Aaditya Anand M