IPL 2021 Auction – Harbhajan Singh on his chances in IPL Auctions: Harbhajan says lack of match practice will not be a problem before IPL as he is likely to play in Vijay Hazare Trophy before IPL 2021. Harbhajan was released by Chennai Super Kings and he has registered himself for the IPL Auctions at a base price of 2Cr. In an exclusive interaction with InsideSport.co, Harbhajan declared that he is completely fit and ready to play IPL 2021 and is confident that some team will surely pick him at the auctions.
Bhajji, 40, will go under the hammer on February 18. Insidesport caught up with the legendary spinner who has rich exploits in international cricket with 417 Test wickets, 269 ODIs wickets and 780 First Class wickets, besides 235 wickets in the T20s.
Q: You have had an almost two-year gap in competitive cricket. Do you think that will be a problem ahead of the IPL?
A: I don’t think that will be a major issue once you get into the routine of practising with your teammates in the nets. You will do what you need to do to make sure your skills are at your best. So, it does not matter. It is already there in our system. I have played cricket for a long, long time. So, it will not take long for me to get into the competitive zone when I see my opposition in front of me. It’s there in my DNA.
Q: Staying fit during the lockdown became a problem for many. What sorts of routine did you follow to keep your fitness level up?
A: It was a major problem for many. But I have my own ground in Jalandhar that is used for my academy. Some 150-odd kids come and practice there. But since nobody is coming now, I made the best possible use of the facilities out there. I have been practising with some guys. Most of the time, during the pandemic, I was there.
We have wickets to bowl and nets to bat, so I did not face any problem with training. The facilities are there for training so I could make use of the equipment to stay fit. I also did a lot of yoga during this time. That’s how the situation has been since.
Q: You missed the IPL and haven’t played a match since 2019 IPL. Will that be a problem?
Playing a few games always helps but this is what the scenario has been. Hence, you have to bring your experience into the play and keep all the good things that you have done in your memory and move forward.
It’s unfortunate that I could not go to Dubai to play the IPL. But it was the right decision at that point in time. That was the most important thing for me to do. Now, since things are slowly opening up and everyone is more confident about going out because the vaccine is already out, that fear (of the virus) is not there anymore.
Q: Have you considered playing domestic cricket (Vijay Hazare Trophy) for match practice?
A: Well, the tournament is beginning on February 20 for Punjab. I will see if I can feature in a couple of matches to get some sort of practice. But before the IPL begins, I am sure, I will have some sort of match practice here and there.
Q: As the IPL auction is coming up, do you have any preference to play for a team?
A: I don’t mind paying for any team. I do not have any preference. I will be more than happy to see myself at the park and do the needful for the team that picks me. That I feel is the most important. But picking a team is not in my hand. So, whatever team picks me, I will give my best.
The last time Harbhajan played in the IPL 2019, he scalped 16 wickets in 11 matches. His IPL records with the ball also stand out with 150 wickets in 160 matches. That’s not it though. He is an excellent tail-ender batter as well, scoring 829 runs with a strike rate of 138.16 and highest score of 64.