Ranji Trophy 2019-20: Harbhajan Singh backs Jalaj Saxena, Akshay Wakhare

Former India off-spinner Harbhajan questioned the selection of spinners who “don’t even spin the ball” and called for the inclusion of Saxena and Wakhare.

Former India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh has hit out at selectors for ignoring genuine spinners.   -  K.R. DEEPAK

Harbhajan Singh hit out at selectors for ignoring traditional finger-spinners in Team India setup.

In recent times, the wrist spinners have elbowed the finger-spinners in selection calls. And Harbhajan batted for the inclusion of Jalaj Saxena and Akshay Wakhare, who are plying their trade in the Ranji Trophy for many years.

Off-spinning all-rounder Saxena represents Kerala in domestic cricket. He has 347 first-class wickets, along with 6,334 runs with the bat. Wakhare — with 279 wickets in 83 first-class games — has been part of the Vidarbha side that won the Ranji Trophy for two years in a row.

“There is a spinner named Jalaj Saxena. They just refuse to consider him. He has been bowling superbly for so many seasons. Wakhare is a consistent bowler but no one looks at him. And then you say, spinners are getting lost in Indian cricket. He must have done something good for Vidarbha to have won the Ranji Trophy twice,” Harbhajan told Sportstar.

But the senior pro questioned the selection of Tamil Nadu off-spinner Washington Sundar.

“They pick this guy called Washington Sundar, who doesn’t even spin the ball. I just don’t get it. Why don’t you encourage a bowler who bowls genuine spin, who can lure the batsman out and have him stumped.

“If Washington can bat a bit, so can Jalaj, who is also a proper spinner,” he added.

Harbhajan believes bowlers like Saxena and Wakhare need to be taken care of. “You have to develop these bowlers by giving them confidence. I want to know what wrong has Saxena done? Has he, Wakhare or Shahbaz Nadeem [Jharkhand] committed a crime by taking wickets?”

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