Harbhajan springs in defence of <i>doosra</i>

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/t/t20-harbhajan.jpg' class='caption'> As the clamour against 'doosra' gains momentum in Australia, Harbhajan sprang in defence of the delivery that has earned him bagful of wickets.

Updated: July 30, 2009 16:17 IST
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As the clamour against 'doosra' gains momentum in Australia, star Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh on Thursday sprang in defence of the delivery that has earned him bagful of wickets.

Reacting to last month's spin summit in Brisbane in which former practitioners of the craft -- including Shane Warne, Stuart MacGill and Ashley Mallett -- gave a thumbs down to the delivery that turns away from the right-hander, Harbhajan said it was a potent weapon in an off-spinner's armoury and could not be ignored.

"May be this is the view in Australia and I have nothing to do with it," Harbhajan said.

"In rest of the cricket-playing countries, including India, every player wants to add variations in his bowling and I think all youngsters should learn it," he said.

Harbhajan and Muttiah Muralitharan remain the two major exponents of the mysterious delivery that turn away from the right-handed batsman. Pakistani all-rounder Shoaib Malik also bowled 'doosra' as was South Africa's Johan Botha and incidentally all four had their action reported at some point of their career.

The details of last month's spin summit surfaced earlier this week and according to reports, former Australian Test player Mallett said 'doosra' could not be bowled without the ball being chucked.

Warne, his mentor Terry Jenner, MacGill and Mallett were also of the view that 'doosra' should not be taught in any cricket academy in Australia.

Harbhajan's view was also sought on Rahul Dravid's surprising return to the Indian ODI squad for the Champions Trophy and the offie felt it would boost the team morale.

"If big players like Sachin (Tendulkar), Rahul and (Anil) Kumble play in any big tournament, they share the responsibilities and other players also feel like performing well," Harbhajan said.

Harbhajan himself would have to shoulder responsibility as the senior most bowler of the side and not just only in Champions Trophy.

Harbhajan said he and Kumble had formed a formidable combination till the leg spinner quit and now he finds an able spin partner in Amit Mishra who looks good enough to cement his place in the Test squad.

"No doubt, Anil Kumble was a great bowler and I am lucky to get an opportunity to play with him and under his shadow. It is extremely difficult to get a leg spinner of his calibre. "After Kumble, I think Amit Mishra has the potential. The way Mishra performed in the last few matches, he looks promising and I hope he will continue to do a good job and ensure that he plays for India for a long period," he said.

The off-spinner was also forthright with his view on Test cricket's future vis-a-vis the growing popularity of Twenty20 and he asserted that the longer version is here to stay.

"I think Test cricket is real cricket. As a cricketer, Test cricket always remained special for me as you can judge the ability, potential, fitness or skill of any player through Test cricket only", Harbhajan said.

"People may think whatever about Test cricket but I love this form of cricket and want to play more Test cricket," he said.

Enjoying a rare break after India's ODI series in the West Indies, Harbhajan said he was looking forward to playing in BCCI corporate cricket.

"Of course, I have been with Indian Airlines for so long and I will definitely play for my Airlines," he said.

Asked how he enjoyed his holiday, the spinner said, "During the hectic cricket season, we do not get chance to concentrate on our overall fitness and I am taking extreme care of my fitness so that I can play for the country at least for six years more," he said.

The combative off-spinner did not shy away either when his opinion was sought on the unflattering remarks made by former Australia coach John Buchanan in a recent book.

"I don't know whether there is any significance of his comments. What I want to says is one should avoid making any such comments just to sell his book. Not only me, he even did not spare great cricketers like Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar.

"I do not want to make any comment on his coaching but want to say that he should concentrate more on his coaching at whatever level he is coaching...", he added.

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