Not to rain on Harbhajan Singh’s parade — this guy has just saved two Tests for India on the trot — but people need to stop calling him an all-rounder. Sure, the current evidence to the contrary — two fifties and a century — seems overwhelming, but it loses some force when you look at the actual video footage of the innings.
Take this last one in particular: Singh is just about all over the place. I counted at least five different times when the gap between where Harbahajan wanted the ball to go and where it ended was wider than the Pacific Ocean. He hit, he was lucky, and all to the good for the Indian team. But we’ve all seen plenty of innings from Singh where he immediately tries his hand and fails. (The law of averages confirms this; Singh scores 17 runs each innings on average.)
Now, Singh has an incredible eye and he has the strength to wallop things around. I’m just not sure about a) his temperament; b) his defensive skills; c) his ability to cope with short balls, true pace and really fast pitches. In the end, the most we can hope from this guy is 17 quick runs. That’s not too shabby, but it’s not Shaun Pollack or Freddie Flintoff either. I worry that selectors, looking at his failing bowling, will use his recent batting heroics as a crutch, which will inevitably land us in more trouble than it’s worth.