Harbhajan, one of India’s greatest spinners, brutally criticised the decision to drop Kuldeep Yadav from the Dhaka Test.
Kuldeep, who made a return to Test cricket after 22 months, took a match haul of eight wickets including a career-best 5/40 and scored 40 crucial runs in Chattogram.
However, he was dropped for the ongoing second game in Mirpur to accommodate Saurashtra seamer Jaydev Unadkat in the playing eleven.
After Kuldeep bagged the man-of-the-match award in the Chattogram Test, Harbhajan Singh wondered if the left-arm wrist spinner “would be better off” not winning ‘player of the match’ awards.
“I think from now on, Kuldeep should stop taking five-wicket hauls. Who knows that he might just get to play two Test matches in a row!” a sarcastic Harbhajan said.
“Like last time when he got a five-for, before Chattogram Test, was against Australia in Sydney (5/99) in different conditions. He was supposed to be India’s No. 1 spinner in overseas conditions but he had to wait for more than two years to play a Test.”
“Now he played after nearly two years again and has been dropped again. Would love to know the rationale,” said Harbhajan, one of the four Indian bowlers to have taken 400-plus wickets.
“I don’t want to name any player but some of the players in the Test set-up got a long rope, up to five years. In case of Kuldeep, it seems that the duration of his security is five days.”
While Umesh Yadav and comeback man Unadkat got six wickets between them, the pitch wasn’t a seamer’s paradise.
R Ashwin also got four wickets. The pitch was offering assistance to spinners as Bangladesh skipper Shakib Al Hasan got a few to turn square.
“How does one feel safe if he gets dropped after taking eight wickets. Can he play fearless cricket when all that the team management has done is to instil fear in him?” questioned Harbhajan.
Harbhajan said while he would agree that Bangladesh aren’t the most formidable side in Test format but a performer being benched is likely to send a wrong message among youngsters.
“You can never perform if there is a sword hanging over your head.”
“I only hope that Kuldeep doesn’t lose confidence because of this as he is someone who should be serving India for another good 8-10 years,” he added.
We agree with Harbhajan 100%.