BROOKLYN, NY – Veteran spin bowler Harbhajan Singh, 30, who voiced his aspirations for a captain or a vice-captain role in the Indian team, speaking to a news channel in India last week, seemed to have quickly come to terms with the daunting odds associated with such a responsibility falling on him.
Speaking to News India Times on the sidelines of a meet hosted by Hotstar, in Brooklyn, NY, Singh refuted that he made such comments, admitted that the scenario was unlikely, though he was still hopeful and confident of making a comeback to the Indian team for the 2019 World Cup, to be held in England and Wales.
Asked if taking on the role of captain or vice-caption of the Indian cricket team would be an uphill task given the fact that wrist spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal have had a sensational series in South Africa, Singh queried: “When did I say I want to be captain of the Indian team?”
ESPN ran a story on Singh last week, broaching on what he told the news channel Headlines Today, where he reportedly said: “When my time comes, I will get captaincy or vice-captaincy. I have said many times that I am available and obviously if something like this comes then I would definitely be really honored to receive such kind of responsibility.”
Singh added, in that interview: “…I have not got my dues, so probably I will when that time comes. I have seen Anil Kumble retiring. He was the captain of India for two years. For me it will be the same thing. Let’s see, who knows.”
When told of his comments to Headlines Today, Singh said, to News India Times: “No, No, I don’t think I will be able to lead the Indian team. (Virat) Kohli is doing a great job. I’m not even part of the squad; how can I talk about leading the Indian team?”
On his chances of a slot in the World Cup squad, if he were to have a good IPL season, Singh said: “There is opportunity in every game you play. And also, the kind of experience I have, the kind of exposure I have, nobody else has. I have this advantage, and yes, if I have a great IPL season, one never knows.”
Singh added: “This talk of finger spinners or wrist spinners is not happening for the first time. At the end (of the day) you want to win games. I’m a finger spinner, but when I played, I made the ball talk, and that’s what matters.”
Asked if the Indian team could have swept the test series in South Africa if Kuldeep Yadav had been played instead of R. Ashwin – given the difficulty the Proteas had in reading the variations of the former – Singh replied, with a smile: “No comments…that I don’t know, not my cup of tea. You need to ask the other people, who selected the team.”