The spinner worked with the bowling coach Joe Dawes
Harbhajan Singh stands on the brink of a rare achievement. Should he feature in it, the opening Test against Australia in Chennai this Friday will be the off-spinner’s hundredth, making him only the tenth Indian cricketer to have managed the feat.
On the second day of India’s pre-series camp in Bangalore, Harbhajan worked alone in the nets at the National Cricket Academy with the bowling coach Joe Dawes.
The 32-year-old bowled for the good part of an hour with Dawes standing at the striker’s end, trying different trajectories and seemingly working on variations.
Harbhajan had not played for India for over a year when he was recalled for the Mumbai Test against England in November.
He was omitted immediately afterwards, only to return — again — in the squad for this month’s Australia series.
Harbhajan’s good record against the opponent — 81 wickets in only 12 home matches — and the prospect of success over its numerous left-handed batsmen (as many as six could feature in the first team), have possibly worked in his favour.
“Australia may have several left-handers but how they perform against off-spin bowling or any spin bowling depends on how well they have prepared,” the former India off-spinner Rajesh Chauhan, who formed a successful troika with Anil Kumble and Venkatapathy Raju in the nineties, said.
“It’s imperative that Harbhajan does well for the sake of his own career. It’s important to the team as well. If he is picked, India does not have a choice except to hope he succeeds.”
On Sunday morning, the Indian team was put through fielding drills inside the stadium. Later, during his turn with the bat, Sachin Tendulkar was bowled twice in quick succession facing the assembled rookie seamers.
The camp will conclude on Monday.