Saqlain Mushtaq has said that the decision to phase out Harbhajan Singh from international cricket came as a surprise to him as he was a bowler who could have easily become India‘s most prolific wicket-taker in Tests. Also Read - It Will be Tougher For Bowlers to Find Their Rhythm After Lockdown: Brett Lee
Harbhajan’s last Test appearance was back in August 2015 before he was dropped with another offspinner in Ravichandran Ashwin becoming the team’s first-choice tweaker. Also Read - Happy Birthday Ravi Shastri: Top-10 Facts You Should Know About The Former India Allrounder
Saqlain says both Harbhajan and Ashwin could have played together. “In fact, I was surprised when a a great like Bhajji was dropped. Both Ashwin and Bhajji have different styles and could have easily played together in the playing eleven. If two right-hand pacers can play regularly, why not spinners?” Saqlain told PTI. Also Read - Rahul Dravid is The Toughest Batsman I've Ever Bowled to: Varun Aaron
He claims Harbhajan had the capability to finish with 700 Test wickets. “Such was Bhajji’s class that he could have easily taken 700 Test wickets,” he said.
Harbhajan has played 103 Tests and taken 417 wickets at 32. 46 including 25 five-wicket hauls. The 39-year-old now only plays in IPL where he represents Chennai Super Kings.
Saqlain played 49 Tests and 169 ODIs between 1995 and 2004 taking 496 wickets across formats before a dip in form and emergence of Shoaib Malik and Danish Kaneria ended his international career.
The 43-year-old feels while India have impressive spinners, Pakistan have been struggling on that front.
“The spinners you (India) have are pretty good actually. Kuldeep (Yadav) has been impressive, Ashwin and (Ravindra) Jadeja have been doing well consistently. They are world- class bowlers. I am pretty confident that Ashwin and Jadeja will end up playing 100 Tests each,” he said.
He continued, “In fact Pakistan is struggling a bit on that front. Yasir Shah has done well but his form has dipped recently. Shadab is still a work in progress.”