Harbhajan Singh might not be anywhere close to getting into the Indian team at the moment, but he is close to the team, being a part of the commentary team that is doing duties during the England and India Test series.
India just clawed their way back into the first Test at Edgbaston thanks to a superlative 22nd Test ton by captain Virat Kohli, who made 149 from 225 balls and took India to 274 from 100/5.
Before him, off-spinner R Ashwin proved his worth in the team by picking four wickets (4/62) in England’s first innings and then removing opener Alastair Cook in an action replay of his first innings dismissal to leave England 9/1 at the close of second day’s play.
Ashwin was instrumental in keeping England below the score of 300 and he received praise from his one-time competitor for the off-spinner spot in the team, Harbhajan Singh.
"This is the best I have seen Ashwin bowl outside the subcontinent. He has done very well over the years but most of his wickets have come in the subcontinent. Wickets don't come easy back home either, but when the conditions are favorable, you tend to get more confidence," Harbhajan told TOI.
"When you are trying too much, it means you are not doing enough with your stock ball. Here in England, all those carom balls and googlies won't make much of a difference because it doesn't spin that much. It's crucial to deceive the batsman in flight if a spinner has to be successful in England and that's exactly what Ashwin did," Harbhajan said.
Harbhajan explained how Ashwin is bowling here, "I think he is bowling seam up and there are more revs being imparted by putting it more in the air and it leads to overspin (as opposed to sidespin where the ball curves away rather than dipping). It's the best way to go about in these conditions because unless you impart more spin on the ball, it just wouldn't spin."
(With inputs from Times of India)