'Chance to catch eyes of selectors'

 Rest of India skipper Harbhajan Singh felt the Irani Cup game against Ranji champions Karnataka beginning here on Sunday, was a good opportunity to catch the attention of national selectors.

“Every game is important,” said the off-spinner who had led RoI to victory over Mumbai for their eighth successive Irani title. “These kind of matches, being on TV, everyone’s looking to perform to the best of his abilities. Obviously, selectors will also be watching very closely. Great opportunity for the guys from both sides and I’m sure everyone’s looking forward to it,” he noted.

In encouraging form himself, Harbhajan has a bright chance to make a strong case for a comeback to the national squad with a good show. “I don’t think about being dropped,” he began. “Every match is an opportunity to get better at my game and that will open the door for me when it comes to the national team. Hopefully, I’ll have another good game. See, rather than hearing things (that I have good chance to make a return) from here and there, I’d like to concentrate on my game. It’s an opportunity no doubt and I’ll just go out there and give it my best. I am not thinking about what’s in store for me but the goal is definitely to get back into the Indian team,” he remarked.

The Punjab player spoke glowingly about Karnataka team. “They were by far the best side throughout the season. (KL) Rahul, Karun (Nair), Vinay Kumar, all of them have done well. It’s a fantastic achievement (to win Ranji Trphy). In the semis, they outplayed us. Vinay came out of nowhere and took those five wickets to change the course of the game. While they were batting, Karun took the responsibility and scored a big hundred. It shows their strength, they’re a good side and we’ll be looking forward to playing against them.”

Lack of familiarity with each other, Karnataka skipper Vinay pointed out, in RoI squad will work to hosts’ advantage. “RoI is a good side because those who do well in the Ranji Trophy find a place here. But we have a big advantage in that we have been playing as a team throughout the season. Whereas they have only come together now from different states. They will need time to jell as a group. That is when we can take advantage. We have played as a family. No matter how good those players are, it will not be easy coming from different states and playing now. We have not lost a single game and our confidence is high.”

RoI coach Lalchand Rajput felt this was where his role assumed importance. “I’ve been with India ‘A’ for the last two years and I know most of them. It’s a matter of pride because they all know they’re among the best players in the country. This is a one-off game so the coach’s job is to make them feel they’re a part of the team and play as a unit,” he reasoned.

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