A profile of Harbhajan Singh- star off-spin bowler of Mumbai Indians for the last six season of the Indian Premiere League.

Harbhajan Singh might have fallen out of favor with the Indian selectors over the past couple of seasons but he still remains a top class off-spinner and that is something that has been on display whenever he has turned up against the world’s best cricketers in the IPL for the Mumbai Indians. He has represented the Mumbai Indians with distinction right from the first season and in fact led them to a trophy in the Champions League T20 in 2011. Harbhajan has been a vital member of the bowling attack of the most expensive team in the championship over the past 6 seasons. More often than not it is noticed that when he does well Mumbai Indians end up having a good time on the field.

harbhajan singh MI IPL Cricketer Profile: Harbhajan Singh

This is what Bhajji has to say about the influence of IPL on his career.
“When the IPL began, I thought I knew how to bowl there. You could bowl yorkers. After the first year I realised I was wrong.
Batsmen over the years have learnt how to play yorkers and I feel there are much more chances of getting wickets with your stock ball than the dart balls.”

Role

The sort of variety and talent that Harbhajan Singh possesses as an off-spinner makes him perfectly capable of bowling at any stage of the innings for the Mumbai Indians, depending on the match situation as well as the conditions. Over the years he has opened the bowling and has also bowled at the death, but his most crucial role has been that of keeping the middle overs quite between overs 7-16 when the game often seems to drift away.

Value

In the inaugural IPL auctions that took place in 2008, Harbhajan Singh was a player whom almost every franchise wanted to acquire but it was the Mumbai Indians which eventually bagged him for $850,000. Since then he has remained with the same team and over the course of the IPL seasons he has been retained twice by the MI, which goes to show how highly he is valued by his team. He will be turning out for the MI in IPL 2014 as well.

Best Performance

In the last six seasons, Harbhajan has been a rock in the MI bowling attack and has often come up with match winning performances for his side, but his best performances till date remains the 5-18 he took against the eventual champions the Chennai Super Kings in 2011. MI had set the CSK a target of 165 but Harbhajan Singh got the wicket of Raina at the top and then cleaned up the lower middle order in an excellent display. The CSK eventually fell short by 8 runs.

MI star players IPL Cricketer Profile: Harbhajan Singh

The formidable combination of these five players – Rohit, Pollard, Malinga, Bhajji and Rayudu – forms the nucleus of Mumbai Indians.

Numbers Game

Bowling

Mat

Balls

Runs

Wkts

BBM

Ave

Econ

SR

4w

5w

Career

82

1707

1925

78

5/18

24.67

6.76

21.88

1

1

2013

19

420

456

24

3/14

19.00

6.51

17.50

0

0

2012

17

324

384

6

2/13

64.00

7.11

54.00

0

0

2011

15

318

370

14

5/18

26.42

6.98

22.71

0

1

2010

15

321

377

17

3/31

22.17

7.04

18.88

0

0

2009

13

264

256

12

4/17

21.33

5.81

22.00

1

0

2008

3

60

82

5

3/32

16.40

8.20

12.00

0

0

As is evident from his record across the 6 IPL seasons so far, Harbhajan Singh is that bowler of rare quality who can take wickets and also keep things tight. Barring the exception of the 2012 tournament in which he only picked up 6 wickets in 17 games, Harbhajan has been a consistent wicket taker and that is proven by his strike rate of close to 22. On the other hand, the economy rate of 6.76 is something that makes him the dream spinner for any T20 captain.

Did you know?

For a long time Harbhajan was known as this reclusive character that shunned the media spotlight but he has not been able to do so since he hooked up with actress Geeta Basra and if rumours are to be believed the two are about to get married soon. In fact, it was at an award function that Harbhajan spilled the beans on their relationship during an on stage chat with Shahrukh Khan.  On the field, he is a combative character though and his on-field verbal needle with Shoaib Akhtar is a part of cricketing folklore.

By Soham Samaddar

Also See:
IPL Cricketer Profile: Shane Watson
IPL Cricketer Profile: Rajat Bhatia

Image Source: Mumbai Indians@Facebook, Mumbai Indians@Facebook

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