One of the biggest surprises in this year’s Indian Premier League auction was seeing Chennai Super Kings buying Harbhajan Singh.
Speculations were rife that the two-time IPL champions would go for their old warhorse Ravichandran Ashwin. However, the Chennai-based franchise instead went for Harbhajan who has played all the past seasons for Mumbai Indians. The veteran off-spinner is at the fag end of his career and has failed to do well in recent times. Not surprisingly, the Super Kings bought him for his base price of Rs 2 crore.
The decision to buy Harbhajan instead of Ashwin has baffled many. While Harbhajan has lost his place in the national team and is looking like a pale shadow of his former self, Ashwin is India’s leading off-spinner and is in his prime.
According to The Times of India, skipper MS Dhoni had himself told the franchise to sign Harbhajan. The Punjab-born star had plied his trade for a significant part of his career under Dhoni’s captaincy in the national team. Harbhajan was a part of the teams which won the World T20 in 2007 and the 50-over World Cup in 2011. The 37-year old has picked up over 700 international wickets.
Pinning hopes on players aged over 30:
The Super Kings have sprung a big surprise with the way they have assembled their squad. At a time when all the teams look to sign up youths for the slam-bang form of the game, the Super Kings were for several players who are deep into their 30s.
In addition to Harbhajan, they have signed up 38-year old Imran Tahir, 37-year old Shane Watson and 32-year old Kedar Jadhav. Overall, they currently have 11 players who are aged above 30 including the retained trio – MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina and Ravindra Jadeja.
The franchise, however, is happy with the squad which will represent them in their comeback season. The Super Kings are returning to the league after serving a two-year suspension.
“Look at his quality, don’t see his age. This is the era when athletes go that extra mile to keep themselves fit even when they are closing 40. The prime example of that is Roger Federer, who wins so much at 37,” said a CSK manager when asked about Harbhajan’s signing.
Harbhajan confident of a good show:
Despite looking off-colour in recent times, the Turbanator is confident of putting up a good show. Dismissing the age factor, the veteran bowler is hopeful his experience will help him excel.
“Youth does not necessarily translate into match-winning performances. There is no substitute for experience — we are players who have walked the difficult road and know how to deal with it,” Harbhajan said.
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