Mumbai Indians star off-spinner and veteran bowler Harbhajan Singh recently opened up on his dismay of being not selected for the final of the IPL (Indian Premier League) which was played between RPS and MI at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad.
The decision to drop an experienced bowler as Harbhajan was considered as a bold move by Mumbai’s management. Instead of this, the team opted to retain leg-spinner Karn Sharma during the playoffs who proved to be profitable in the second qualifier as well as final match. This decision was taken after the penultimate clash with Kings XI, where Bhajji conceded a whopping 45 runs in just 3 overs with no wickets at all. After this, he was dropped from playing the remaining matches in the season as well.
Harbhajan insisted that the decision taken by the team management was not a personal one but a tactical one to aim Rising Pune Supergiant right-hand batsmen in the final. He made it clear that coach Mahela Jayawardene’s decision was well thought-out though frustrating.
“Obviously frustrating when you’re sitting out and watching the game and it is something which is out of your control. I respect the management’s decision. I won’t cry about this. I am a team man. Mahela spoke to me about a lot of right-handers in the Pune team so they wanted to play a leg-spinner but as an off-spinner most of my wickets in any formats have been right-handers”, the 36-year old told NDTV.
Answering another question about his expectations for the next season of IPL franchise, the veteran was quick to dismiss any doubts regarding his age. In a jesting mood, he said that he was still young and had represented the team for ten years. During the current IPL season, Bhajji picked up a total of 8 wickets in 11 matches at an average of 33.25. His economy-rate was 6.48.
The strategic decision proved to be beneficial as Karn Sharma had a magnificent spell of 4/16 in the second qualifier against KKR in Bengaluru. He further went on to conceding only 18 runs from 4 overs in the final against RPS, which proved to be vital for MI lifting their third IPL trophy.