At the age of 40, Harbhajan Singh has been released by the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) franchise ahead of the 14th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). The off-spinner had skipped the previous IPL season held in the UAE.
However, Harbhajan is an experienced campaigner and is a veteran of the IPL. He has piled up some glittering numbers in his IPL career. ‘Bhajji’, as he is fondly referred to, is the fifth-highest wicket-taker in the history of the tournament, and has taken 150 wickets at an average of 26.44.
But then, Chennai’s loss might be some other team’s gain and the experienced cricketer might still find some takers in the auction.
Let us take a look at three teams that might pick Harbhajan Singh in the 2021 IPL auction:
3. Kings XI Punjab
Harbhajan Singh would be suitable to don the jersey for the Kings XI Punjab in the upcoming season. One look at the Punjab side reveals that they do not have a single off-spinner. The Punjab side has retained three specialist spinners in Murugan Ashwin, Ravi Bishnoi, and the inexperienced Harpreet Brar.
While Ashwin and Bishnoi are wrist spinners, Brar is a left-arm spinner and has played just 3 games in the 2 seasons that he has been part of the franchise. And that is why Harbhajan would be a perfect fit into the squad.
In the previous season that he played (2019), Harbhajan took 16 wickets at an average of just 19.50. And who knows, the old warhorse could still hold a few tricks up his sleeve in the 2021 IPL edition.
2. Rajasthan Royals
Another team that could benefit from the addition of Harbhajan Singh into their squad is the Rajasthan Royals. Well, do you know how many off-spinners does the Rajasthan side has currently? The answer is none.
Their two frontline spinners, Shreyas Gopal and Mayank Markande are both leg-spinners. And, Gopal endured a poor tournament last year in the UAE. The leg spinner played 14 matches but picked up just 10 wickets at a mediocre average of 42.70. His economy rate too, was on the higher side at 8.54. And, as far as Mayank Markande is concerned, he did not even play a single game last year.
In that scenario, having the experience of an off-spinner who has played 160 games for two of the most successful franchises in the past would certainly help, wouldn’t it?
1. Mumbai Indians
What is the best place for Harbhajan Singh to go to in the 2021 IPL edition? Well, the answer is, Mumbai Indians. To start with, it is his former franchise and the team where he spent 10 years of his IPL career with. Harbhajan was a match-winner for Mumbai and picked up 127 wickets for the franchise at an average of 26.78.
Apart from that, let us analyze the Mumbai squad a little bit. The three specialist spinners that the five-time champions have retained ahead of the 2021 auction are Krunal Pandya (left-arm spinner), Rahul Chahar (wrist-spinner), and Jayant Yadav(off-spinner). Well, if you are wondering about Anmolpreet Singh, he has not even played a game for Mumbai and is unlikely to do so, given the firepower that they have.
Also, Jayant Yadav played just two games in the previous season and is unlikely to get a look in on a regular basis. Krunal Pandya is a sure starter given his all-round abilities, and Rahul Chahar too, was impressive with his leg-breaks in the previous season, picking up 15 wickets. But then, how many ‘playable’ off-spinners do Mumbai have at this point who can feature on a consistent basis? NONE.
And that is why Harbhajan Singh can be a perfect addition to the squad. He wore the blue jersey for a large part of his limited-overs career (for both India and Mumbai). And, the 2021 IPL season might just see him donning the blues once again, for the Mumbai Indians.
Source: The source of this content is our cricket news platform Crictracker.
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