The Champions Trophy was a godsend for Indian cricket. Bhajji was dropped for a one day international, somehow replaced by Mishra. But unless Mishra knocked all ten and proved himself as an all-rounder, how could he take Bhajji’s place?
What, even Kumble couldn’t take Bhajji’s place – it was Bhajji who took Kumble’s place and then made it his own; the spinners’ spot was a rare family heirloom, handed down through generations.
There is a security cover on Bhajji; it extends beyond MSD and Sachin’s good wishes. It stretches beyond marketers. This cover protects him beyond lost form, from the promise of other spinners who threaten to outbowl him.
Now listen up Mishra, Ojha and Chawla: You can outbowl him, but you cannot replace him. Bhajji is a given. If you do not compete against his bowling, it will be his batting, his cheerleading, his hugs, Bhangara, drama, out of ideas, he will even sing Banarama.
Frankly the day Mishra took five at Mohali, I told myself, enjoy this, Indian cricket will ensure it doesn’t last. What little I saw of Ojha, I told myself the same.
Can you see Bhajji bowl, I refuse to now. Each time he bowls I see a corrupt nation stick its tongue out at me.
How else did he play six one day internationals against Australia after his Champions Trophy form? And when his so-called batting form evades him, he will make the team on some new quota.
Worse, I now doubt every Bhajji move, even though he moves well. That faulty reverse sweep against Murali, when India was nine down, and Mishra was more than holding his own, I have my views on that.
Just as you no doubt have yours; how MSD defends every below par Bhajji performance, their Hummers, newly forged business links – but look at it this way, we all love to play with friends.
On Bored: What better than being dropped on your birthday