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IPL 2018: Harbhajan Singh excited to play under MS Dhoni's 'street-smart' captaincy

Ram Kumar
3.65K   //    21 Feb 2018, 19:59 IST

MS Dhoni Harbhajan Singh
Harbhajan has set his sights on winning the IPL with Chennai Super Kings (Image Courtesy: CLT20)

What's the story?

Having played a lot of matches for India under MS Dhoni's captaincy, Harbhajan Singh is excited to resume the productive working relationship when he makes his debut for Chennai Super Kings in the upcoming IPL season. Lavishing praise on Dhoni's street-smart captaincy skills, the experienced off-spinner believes that the wicket-keeper batsman's proven ability to stay one step ahead of the opposition makes him a shrewd operator in the shortest format.

"It’s always a great feeling to play along with MS Dhoni. I’m looking forward to working with him again towards a common goal – this time to win the trophy for the Chennai Super Kings. He (Dhoni) understands the game really well, is street-smart and thinks ahead of the game and I feel that’s very important for a captain, especially in T20. That’s what makes him a great skipper. Look forward to exciting times with CSK", Harbhajan told the franchise's official website.

On switching from Mumbai Indians to Chennai Super Kings, the veteran affirmed, "It’s great to be a part of two strong teams. 10 years with Mumbai Indians was absolutely brilliant, and now to be a part of another brilliant team. CSK versus Mumbai Indians – two top teams – was always a pressure game. No matter how bad the situation, both would continue to fight till the end and create chances. That’s how champion teams play, with a lot of passion and pride."

The background

Since the inception of the Indian Premier League, Harbhajan has been one of the most prominent players for Mumbai Indians. The 2017 edition of the tournament was his tenth and last season with the popular franchise.

The heart of the matter

With the emergence of younger alternatives, Harbhajan's place in the Mumbai Indians lineup was placed under considerable scrutiny during the 2017 season. Although he was their most economical bowler, his diminishing ability to pick up wickets meant that the seasoned off-spinner was dropped from the playing eleven during the play-offs.

As the defending champions opted against retaining him, Harbhajan found himself back in the auction pool. He was picked up by Chennai Super Kings at his base price of INR 2 crores.

The 37-year old will be competing with the likes of Ravindra Jadeja, Imran Tahir, Mitchell Santner and Karn Sharma in the spin department. Considering the fact that he has played under Dhoni's captaincy in 133 matches for India across all three formats, Harbhajan's experience could be valued by the talisman skipper.

What's next?

In what could be a pulsating opening match of the 2018 IPL season, Chennai Super Kings will begin their campaign against Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium on April 7.

Authors' take

At the final phase of his stellar career, Harbhajan will be hoping to recreate some of his old magic for the Chennai Super Kings. Having been accustomed to Dhoni's approach to the game, he should find it quite comfortable to operate under the 36-year old's leadership.

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Ram Kumar
Someone who views sport as a metaphor for life.
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