Friday, February 12, 2010

Harbajan's problems and effectiveness of Harris

It has been a disastrous first test for the Indian team as losing by an innings and that too in India is a very rare event. India have always been strong at home as they have been able to steamroll most opponents into submission but the Saffers are a very disciplined side and it has never been easy to defeat them.

One of the prime reasons for India's defeat was the ineffectiveness of both their spinners, Harbajan and Mishra. In recent times it has been noticeable that Harbajan has started bowl a lot more flatter and seems to bowl darts instead of flighting it and drawing the batsmen forward. His main weapon has always been bounce but if a spinner starts bowling too quick through the air the batsmen can easily play him as they don't have to worry about being deceived in the air.

Dhoni too has to use him more as an attacking bowler as I see him having a sweeper cover and a deepmidwicket sometimes even in his first spell. If a captain doesn't look to take wickets then it is better to have eleven batsmen and ask some of them to bowl part-time spin! It is not just a criticisim on Dhoni but in recent times most captains leaving Smith who IMHO has improved look to only contain rather than to take wickets . For instance I found Yousef's captaincy in Australia dreadful!

The next point would be why should Harbie all the time bowl around the wicket to the righthanders?A few may point to the fact that Swann had some success in SA by going around the wicket to the righthanders but unlike Harbie he is used to bowling around the wicket to the righthanders and does it well. Harbie also doesn't use the crease well. The one positive sign is that he is looking to go around the wicket to the lefthanders a lot more and I always believed that off spinners should look to bowl around the wicket to the lefthanders as they would be forced to play at more deliveries.

At present I would say that Swann, Sakib, Vettori and even Hauritz seem to be bowling better than Harbie. Let me make it clear that I am not trying to make fun of a bowler who has taken over 300 test wickets but at present he looks completely off colour.

As far as Harris is concerned I had an interesting argument on bbc 606 3 or so years ago as some of the posters reckoned that Harris is the worst spin bowler to have ever played the game but my argument was he does the job that is assigned to him by the captain. If Smith tells him to bowl on those rough patches outside the line of leg stump he would do it and even if Smith asks him to bowl around the wicket he would do a decent job. He knows his limitations and doesn't try anything fancy. Yes, he has a round arm action and bowls wide off the crease and that would mean he can rarely get any lbw's but the fact is he does the job that is assigned to him. After watching him against England I started to get a few doubts about whether I'm right in defending him but he has comeback strongly against India. He can also bat a bit.

To end it for India both their spinners have to do a lot better in the second test. South Africa don't have too many problems though they would like both Prince and Duminy to get some runs. I do expect India to come back strongly as at home one can never write off the Indian team.


stroller95 said...

Congratulations on your blog, gb.

I've only ever really watched Harbhajan bowl against Australia. I can't remember when I last saw him consistently flight the ball, probably the BG in Aus? In 08/09 he was bowling the flat ones, although his batting was pretty good, damn.

greyblazer said...

Thanks Stroller.

I too can't remember the last time he really flighted the ball. He seems to be bowling more and more flat, maybe playing too many onedayers is to be blamed?

Soulberry said...

Welcome back GB. Cricket blogging needs writers like you.

It is sad to see Harbhajan curl up and wilt away this way. It is almost as if he is refusing to summon up his attacking bowling persona lest it also open up an unsavoury Pandora's box of a linked personality deficit. He is almost afraid to attack with the ball.

India has invested years and expended a generation of off spinners in the polishing of Harbhajan...just like leg spin in India died in the long and deep shade of Kumble. Only a rare Mishra survived that domestic apocalypse. With Harbhajan's bowling introvertedness, India is left in the lurch, with no spinners to look forward to.

Guess Powar has to be summoned up, but I doubt if Dhoni will do that.

Sometimes long and successful careers kill off interest in the same craft among the hopefuls of that era.

That's happened here. If Harbhajan can't, then he must go.

Mishra is not a certainity in Dhoni's camp...he better be nimble with the chances he gets.

greyblazer said...


Thanks for the comment. Yeah it seems like Dhoni prefers Ojha. Mishra wasn't attacking as well in the first test maybe Dhoni wants his bowlers only to be defensive?

I have read good things about couple of 16 year old spinners.

straight point said...

thanks for the link sb!

a thought provoking post as usual gb...

bhajji's ineptness has been slowly hurting india for a while and what this defeat has done is that for the first time he is facing criticism from all quarters... which is only good for him as well as indian cricket... he will either have to buckle up or make the way...

mishra knows that he is not preferred hence tries too much whenever opportunity presents itself... coz he know he has got only a match to prove his worth... give him an assurance of say full series and he will be different bowler...

no other spinner is allowed to settle in our team who can challenge the preferred bhajji... so will see ojha in one match mishara in another for no fault of theirs... but such is the musical chair game that is being played...

greyblazer said...


Thanks for your comment. Yeah it seems like Mishra isn't preferred and when a spinner tries too much he can lose his way as spinners do need lots of patience.