Irate Harbhajan Singh slams media and clarifies comments on MS Dhoni
What’s the story?
Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, who was forced to continue his exile from the national side after failing to make the Champions Trophy squad, defended himself over the comments he had made regarding MS Dhoni’s selection in the Indian squad. Harbhajan clarified that he was simply pointing out to the selectors that he was being unfairly treated.
In a series of Twitter posts on Friday, Harbhajan slammed the media for sensationalising the story and blowing his comments out of proportion. He added that he shared a good understanding with Dhoni as a friend and that he never questioned his selection in the 15-man-squad.
Harbhajan has been through a tough time of late as he was overlooked for the Champions Trophy squad as well as the latter stages of the IPL as eventual champions Mumbai Indians opted for the younger Karn Sharma in the Qualifier as well as the final against the Rising Pune Supergiant, despite Bhajji being the most economical bowler among the lot.
While Harbhajan failed to agree with MI head coach Mahela Jayawardene’s stance that he was not picked because of the presence of many right-handers in the RPS squad, reports on Thursday had suggested that he didn’t take his omission from the Champions Trophy squad too well either. It was interpreted that he didn’t find Dhoni worthy of a selection in the squad.
Clearly, Harbhajan is having none of it and has spoken up clarifying that the comments were aimed at the selectors and had nothing to do with the former Indian skipper.
With regards to Dhoni's selection for the Champions Trophy despite his not so impressive form of late – he managed just 290 runs from 16 matches in IPL 2017 – the selection committee headed by MSK Prasad had said that the selection was based on the qualities he possessed as a former skipper and an excellent wicketkeeper, in addition to the calm demeanour he brings to the team with his presence.
Responding to the query raised by the interviewer as seen in the clip, Harbhajan responded positively and said that Dhoni’s selection was understandable considering his immense experience, especially in big tournaments.
Disappointed at his own omission, the 36-year-old added that he was gutted that the same yardstick that was used in Dhoni’s case was not being used in his case as he was also someone with close to 20 years of experience in international cricket.
With his Twitter posts, the veteran off-spinner clarified that he was simply expecting some clarity from the Indian selectors as to why his name was not even considered for selection and that he had nothing against Dhoni who is fully deserving of his spot in the Champions Trophy squad.
It will be interesting to see how this story develops and whether the Indian selectors respond to the query raised by Harbhajan as to why he was not considered for selection despite impressing in the 2017 IPL.
As of now, the BCCI has another selection dilemma to contend with, with the question of whom the next Indian head coach will be, generating its own share of controversy.
While Harbhajan was simply letting his frustration be known to the selectors regarding his continued omission from the Indian squad, mentioning Dhoni in his comments did give rise to a fair bit of controversy.
It is unfortunate that his statements were blown out of context, thereby forcing the off-spinner to clarify his comments on Twitter. But in this era ruled by TRP ratings, it is always better to be a bit more cautious when speaking on topics which could get you in trouble.