Harbhajan Singh just scored 49 runs off 18 balls for the Mumbai Indians. If he had hit that last ball, he would have scored the fastest half-century for the IPL (if I’m to believe the breathless commentary). It was an absolute fluke, and something to behold on the computer screen, but I can’t stand it.
There are two main reasons not to like Harbhajan Singh: the first, he seems like a jerk. I defended him against racism charges during the Sydney affair with Andrew Symonds, but I thought he was obscene then and impolite now.
He’s a classic Indian bully, acting all tough by slapping Sreesanth, or glaring at a bowler who accidentally tossed a beamer (which he, um, ducked), or yelling like a mad man after a fielder threw the ball to the wrong end (watch the highlights of the match against Deccan Chargers. Once they’re at 70/4, you see the incident I’m talking about — there was no chance for a run-out, but Singh just felt the need to yell anyway). Or even running across the ground after dismissing a South African tail-ender in Kolkota.
The second reason? He’s really not that great a bowler. Yes, he has his moments; he always does. He’s a star-performer when he wants to be, but he hands out those performances stingily. You’ll go a whole stretch of Test matches waiting for the Turbanator to show up; when he finally does, we’re supposed to act as if Moses just delivered us to the Promised Land.
Sigh. But enjoy the innings anyway. There’s really no justice.