Harbhajan at home on happy hunting ground

As the Chennai Super Kings practised under lights on Monday, Harbhajan Singh was all focus at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium — a venue that is close to his heart.

Harbhajan Singh bowls during an IPL practice session at the M. A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Monday.   -  K. Pichumani

Advancing years have not dampened his enthusiasm or desire. Even if he does not gambol around the park as he used to in his younger days, Harbhajan Singh is still pretty nippy around the field for someone who is 38.

As the Chennai Super Kings practised under lights on Monday, Harbhajan Singh was all focus at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium — a venue that is close to his heart.

Memories

It was here in 2001 that Harbhajan ambushed Australia with 15 wickets in the third Test and struck the winning runs off Glenn McGrath under fading light with just two wickets remaining. India had won a tumultuous series of fortune swings.

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That was Harbhajan at his peak, getting his off-spinners to turn and bounce in a manner that made batting against him hazardous.

And, last season when the vibrant Harbhajan was roped in by CSK, he enjoyed bowling for the franchise under a captain, M. S. Dhoni, he was only too familiar with.

The off-spinner sent down some crucial spells, varying his pace and angles and not providing width to the batsmen. He is a clever bowler who comprehends the art of denying runs, building pressure and choking the batsmen to doom.

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As a senior cricketer, his inputs are valuable. CSK has a well-rounded and varied spin attack in Harbhajan, wrist-spinners Imran Tahir and Karn Sharma and left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner, and the pack has the potential to inflict considerable damage.

Team-man

Apart from chipping in with wickets, belting some quick runs down the order and giving it his all while fielding, Harbhajan is a team-man, a blithe spirit who soothes nerves in the dugout.

Harbhajan is a man of substance.