Veteran India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh has said he is fit and ready to play international cricket in the Twenty20 International format, even though he is nearing 40 years of age.
Harbhajan is not yet retired but last played for India back in 2016. He has played for Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League and said his performances in the T20 tournament are proof of his ability irrespective of age.
“If I can bowl well in IPL, which is a very difficult tournament for bowlers because the grounds are smaller, and all the top players in world cricket play in the IPL... it is very challenging to bowl against them and if you can do well against them in IPL, you can do well in international cricket,” he was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.
The 39-year-old has not played for India since a match against UAE at the Asia Cup before the 2016 T20 World Cup at home. His last Test and ODI was also back in 2015. But the off-spinner has been consistent in the IPL and is third-highest wicket-taker with 150 wickets, behind Lasith Malinga and Amit Mishra.
“..If I can get Johnny Bairstow and David Warner in IPL, don’t you think I can get them in international cricket? But it is not in my hands. No one comes and talks to you in this present Indian set-up,” he added.
Harbhajan said that the selectors didn’t consider his IPL performances because of his age.
“They will not look at me because they feel I am too old. Also, I don’t play any domestic cricket. [In the] Last four-five years they did not look at me even though I was doing well in the IPL, taking wickets and I had all my records to back my case,” he was quoted as saying.
Harbhajan with 417 dismissals, holds the record for the highest Test wickets claimed by an Indian off-spinner. He had recently downplayed his rivalry with R Ashwin, who had replaced him in the Indian team.
“A lot of people would say that there is a lot of jealousy between us. I would want to call out to them and say there is nothing like that. Ashwin is the best offie in the world right now,” he had said.