Harbhajan Singh, India’s great off-spinner, has been out of international cricket for almost four years now. But to keep engaged himself with cricket, he plays domestic tournaments. In Indian Premier League, Singh now plays for Chennai Super Kings. In the opening match of thirteenth edition of IPL, he will be ready to lock horns against his former franchise Mumbai Indians at WankhedeStadium, Mumbai on March 29.
The legendary off-spinner has played 103 tests for India picking up 417 wickets. He last played a test match against Sri Lanka in 2015. And in white ball cricket, his last appearance for India came in 2016 against United Arab Emirates at Dhaka.
Now in an interview to ESPN Cricinfo, the 39-year-old off break bowler picks his all-time best test XI. The XI includes four Australians, three Indians, two South Africans, one from Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
Bhajji started with the likes of almighty Virender Sehwag and blistering Matthew Hayden for the opening slot. Viru has 6 double centuries on his name in test cricket. He has scored 8586 runs in test cricket at a strike rate of 82.23.
For all important no. 3 slot, he relied on the legendary batsman Rahul Dravid ‘the wall’. Dravid has 13288 runs in test cricket on his name at an average of 52.31.
Speaking about selecting Rahul Dravid for the no. 3 slot, Harbhajan said, “He is the most dependable batsman that I’ve ever played against or bowled to. In any conditions, whether you talk about playing fast bowling, seam bowling or spin, he had the technique to cope with it.”
At no. 4 & 5 position, Bhajji named Sachin Tendulkar ‘The God of Cricket’ and legendary all-rounder Jacques Kallis. Kallis has 13289 runs and 292 wickets in test cricket.
He named Ricky Pointing as the keeper of this side and said, “Virat Kohli, Brian Lara and maybe Kevin Petersen were close for this spot” but he went for Ponting. “If I have picked Virat Kohli in his side, then Shane Warne will be his skipper,” Harbhajan added.
For the role of wicket keeper, he picked all-time Sri Lankan great Kumar Sangakkara. On this picking, Bhajji said, “Obviously Adam Gilchrist was a great player but Sangakkara’s record speaks for itself. He averaged 57 in Tests and it would have been a lot more had he not also been a wicketkeeper in the first part of his career.”
In the bowling department, Harbhajan Singh picked the legends like of Shaun Pollock, Wasim Akram and Glenn McGrath for fast bowling. He picked up only one spinner in the name of spin wizard Shane Warne.
Harbhajan Singh’s all-time best Test XI:
Virender Sehwag, Matthew Hayden, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Jacques Kallis, Ricky Ponting (C), Kumar Sangakkara (WK), Shaun Pollock, Shane Warne, Wasim Akram, Glenn McGrath