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Harbhajan ready to savour Aussie cuisine


Jaspreet Sahni,Cricketnext.com
Sep 27, 2012 at 09:52am IST

MS Dhoni threw Harbhajan Singh a dare against England. "Show me why I should play you?" Dhoni asked without saying. The sardar latched onto the dare and singed England, saying, "Now what, skipper - am I on for the Super Eights?"

The wily offspinner is back, spewing venom. India's colonial cousins were on the receiving end as Harbhajan bared his fangs. And if one were to go by history, Dhoni will find it hard to keep Harbhajan out of the XI - at least against the Aussies, Harbhajan's prey of choice.

His comeback was nothing short of a dream. If body language is an indicator, he had it. If it's the wickets, Harbhajan had four of those. And if it's the fire you were trying to spot, the signature roar ticked that box, too. "I told you, you can't keep him out for long," Sourav Ganguly must have murmured in the commentary box - with a wry smile.

Harbhajan ready to savour Australian cuisine

Seeing how he spewed venom at England on his international return, it will be hard for Dhoni to keep him out of the playing XI.

But Dhoni is still nibbling at his pencil to check a few boxes.

The England game left no doubt for the Indian skipper to go with two spinners in the XI. The question, though, is which two? R Ashwin's form makes him a certainty. So that's taken care of. It leaves a choice between Harbhajan and legspinner Piyush Chawla - that's if Dhoni is mulling a two-spinner policy. The dilemma won't exist if Dhoni plays all three. Quite possible, but requires biting the bullet: keep Virender Sehwag out and continue to open with Irfan Pathan. Tough call indeed.

Sehwag's dodgy form is an invitation to keep him out, while Harbhajan's return to form an invitation to play him. But when you see the opposition - Australia - both have done well against them.

Had it been a 50-over game, Dhoni would have certainly gone with Sehwag. But in the Twenty20 format and with India's dicey bowling, picking Harbhajan and opening with Irfan both make sense. It allows you to play five bowlers without reducing the depth of your batting line-up. Tough on Sehwag, but worth trying one more time, especially seeing the success it reaped against England.

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