Harvinder Singh: ‘IPL helping India produce more pacers’

Punjab bowling coach Harvinder Singh felt even the pitch in Mohali had lost pace over time.

Punjab Ranji team's bowling coach Harvinder Singh wants India to prepare more seamer-friendly pitches.   -  Akhilesh Kumar

The IPL may have put India’s assembly line of quick bowlers in limelight, but the ’90s had also produced several fine pacers. Harvinder Singh was one of them.

He didn’t quite live up to the promise he had shown; he played only three Tests and 16 ODIs. But, you may still remember him for some fine spells he bowled at Toronto in 1997 in the ODI series against Pakistan, though fellow-seamer Debasis Mohanty’s exploits are recalled more often.

Making his debut, Harvinder had taken three for 44. His victims were Shahid Afridi, Salim Malik and Azhar Mahmood. No wonder, his eyes lit up when he spoke about that game.

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“It was a surreal feeling just making the Indian team that included legends like Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid,” he told Sportstar . “Then to open the bowling in my first Test, at Chennai against Australia in 1998, with Javagal Srinath was an even prouder moment. He was my hero.”

Harvinder, who is now the bowling coach of Punjab, said he regretted that he could not play more for India. “If I had a bowling coach, like everyone has today, maybe I would have achieved a lot more,” he said. “These are great times to be a fast bowler in India.”

He said the IPL was one of the reasons why the country was producing more quicks than ever before. “It is a great platform,” he said. “And you also get to work with some of the world’s best players and coaches.”

Harvinder, however, feels India needs to have more tracks that encourage seam bowling. “Even Mohali is not what it used to be, it has lost a lot of its pace, though it still is better than most grounds,” he said. “When I played against Kerala here in 1996-97, the wicket was much greener.”

He had taken 11 for 107 to power Punjab to a seven-wicket victory in the match.

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