Harbhajan’s inclusion strengthens KKR’s spin department: Morgan - GulfToday

Harbhajan’s inclusion strengthens KKR’s spin department: Morgan

Harbhajan Singh

Veteran off-spinner Harbhajan Singh’s inclusion may have raised quite a few eyebrows but Kolkata Knight Riders skipper Eoin Morgan says it has boosted their spin force.

The England white-ball captain and Kolkata Knight Riders skipper Eoin Morgan has said that the addition of veteran Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh will further bolster their spin-department in the upcoming season of the Indian Premier League.

KKR have added Harbhajan Singh at this season’s auction to a spin attack that already had Sunil Narine, Varun Chakravarthy, Kuldeep Yadav and Shakib Al Hasan.

Harbhajan, who has represented the likes of Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings in the past 13 years on the IPL, was picked by the Shah Rukh Khan co-owned Kolkata Knight Riders in the 2021 IPL auction at his base price of Rs 2 Crore.

“I think adding Harbhajan to our squad has strengthened our spin department. If you look at our spin department, on paper it is one of the best in the tournament and that is factual. We have to play in Chennai and it can turn there, it can raise the eyebrows of our spinners there. If we do well in the tournament, our spinners would have bowled well.” said Eoin Morgan as quoted by ANI.

Morgan, who missed the last two ODIs against India on Friday and Sunday due to split webbing, said he should be fit for his KKR’s first match on April 11 against Sunrisers Hyderabad.

“I feel a lot better than I did probably a week ago, and the plan moving forward is to remove the stitches tomorrow (Thursday),” said Morgan while speaking in a media interaction on Wednesday.

“And then continue the progress, like batting in the coming days and over the week and then fielding at the back end of that. And given the time frame that I have available to me, it’s looking good, very good,” added the 34-year-old.

The left-handed batsman praised his team’s spin bowling attack saying that a strong spin line-up will be useful on the spin-friendly surface in Chennai where KKR will play their initial games.

“When you look at our spin department as a whole -- on paper it’s one of the best in the tournament and that’s factual,” he added.

“You look at the options that we have and the conditions that we might play, particularly in Chennai which notoriously can turn, or at least raise the eyebrows over spinners. It’s an area that I think if we play well in the tournament I think our spinners will have bowled well and contributed in that regard,” Morgan said.

Maintaining rhythm and momentum key closer to the IPL: Rahane: Ajinkya Rahane said that he was looking to regain his rhythm in his first practice session for the Delhi Capitals after getting out of quarantine in Mumbai.

Rahane last played in India’s fourth Test against England that ended on March 6.

“I batted for the first time in 20 days. We came out after being in quarantine for seven days, so I was just looking to get into the groove and get into a good rhythm. And as we get closer to the tournament, it will be all about maintaining that good rhythm and momentum,” said Rahane.

Veteran leg spinner Amit Mishra said that he is also working on his batting.

“All the boys are looking good here on the field. They are all ready to put in the hard yards and it’s nice to see the youngsters practicing hard as well,” said the 38-year-old Mishra.

“I am working on my batting. The coaches have also told me to keep practicing my batting as there might be situations in matches when I will have to string partnerships of 25-30 runs. We need to be ready for everything. Basically, if I am batting with a recognized batsman then I should focus on taking singles and giving the strike to my partner,” Mishra further said.

Pujara changes stance for IPL, smashes sixes in training: Cheteshwar Pujara will be making a comeback to the Indian Premier League (IPL) this year with Chennai Super Kings after being unsold in auctions for seven years and the Test batting stalwart seems to be making adjustments to his game. In a video tweeted by a fan, Pujara can be seen standing with a higher backlift and practicing his big hitting.

Pujara can be seen smashing sixes off Deepak Chahar, Karn Sharma and throw-down specialists.

Pujara, who has never played a T20 International for India, last played an IPL match for Kings XI Punjab, now known as Punjab Kings, in 2014. He has played a total of 30 matches, scoring 390 runs at an average of 20.52 with a highest score of 51.

Chennai Super Kings are currently training in Mumbai, where they play their first five matches. They had earlier trained in Chennai with players who were available from March 8 before the others joined in after undergoing a seven-day quarantine in Mumbai. They play Delhi Capitals in their first match of the season on April 10.


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