But the wicket-keeper batsman was impressed with the way Harbhajan Singh has taken to training ahead of IPL 2021.
The 40-year-old was brought by KKR for INR 2 crore during the accelerated phase of the IPL Auction. KKR’s spin riches, coupled with the fact that Harbhajan Singh has not played cricket since IPL 2019, made the move surprising.
Dinesh Karthik gave a sneak-peek into Harbhajan Singh’s intense preparations. The 35-year-old told KKR how Harbhajan Singh has impressed him over the past few days.
"Picking him I think wasn't easy, considering that he has been around for so long. But the amount of interest and interest and intensity he has shown in the last one week is just fabulous,” opined Karthik.
KKR will be Harbhajan Singh’s third IPL team, following successful stints at Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings. With four IPL titles and 150 scalps to his name, many would think Harbhajan Singh has had enough of the competition.
But Karthik revealed the fire is still alive in Harbhajan Singh, claiming the off-spinner looks like a man reborn.
"He has been coming to practice sessions early, much ahead of all other players, and he has been doing it consistently. I think he is a different man now from whatever little I have seen of him this week," Karthik said.
Harbhajan Singh working on his batting too, shared Karthik
Harbhajan Singh was known as an efficient pinch-hitter in his prime. The spinner has 829 runs in the IPL at an impressive strike rate of 138.16.
Dinesh Karthik disclosed how Harbhajan Singh has been paying attention to his abilities with the bat as well.
"Even in a practice game that starts at 7 pm, he comes at 4 o'clock. He was batting before that, he bowled to Shakib (Al Hasan) and (Eoin) Morgan, and then did his stretching again before getting into the practice game,” shared Karthik.
The path into KKR’s team isn’t easy for Harbhajan Singh, considering the variety on offer. Kuldeep Yadav, Shakib Al Hasan, Varun Chakravarthy and Shakib Al Hasan are part of the side as well, and it is unlikely Bhajji will be the team’s frontline spinner.
However, Dinesh Karthik is confident the legendary cricketer will make a mark for the two-time champions.
"He is bowling in the match and also fielding all 20 overs. That's about as much as you can ask for from a man of his stature. He has achieved everything, yet to show this kind of interest at this stage of his career speaks volumes of him as a character. I am sure he will do a great job for KKR,” concluded Karthik.
KKR will play three games in Chennai and two in Mumbai. Harbhajan Singh knows both grounds like the back of his hand, with the venue in Chennai set to aid spinners as well.
Provided KKR uses him in a horse-for-course approach, Harbhajan Singh could be a shrewd buy for the franchise.