Bhajji Defense Program

I was to get this post up two weeks ago but my work commitments ( which I love and takes priority over Bhajji) did not allow me to.

Anyways, here goes. This is exactly what one should not do – rush to conclusion about folks you do not know.It is one thing to put forth your point of view, it is another to term folks who do not agree to your POV as ignorant or to assume they are not bothered to refer Cricinfo Statsguru. By the way Statsguru is a tool , not a supreme court where the final judgement is delivered. I can go on about my view on using “only” statistics to justify your stance – because we can – we can twist stats the way we want to portray what we think is right. Read @MohanK ‘s views on statistics and I agree to every word he wrote there

I happened to reply back to @cricketingview when he shared a link to a group conversation on Twitter on defending Bhajji ( I do not follow him on twitter – just a clarification ) I had some idea he was a fanatic Bhajji supporter , so I accept my mistake of entering the debate. In the course of the debate that went on for( I do not remember how) long, I realized it will not matter what you point out against Bhajji.

  • Bhajji is an average bowler – not great, not a match-winner, cannot be relied upon to win a match single-handedly. A bowler in decline since 2006.
  • Bhajji has never managed to live up to the reputation he garnered during the 2001 Aus series ( No one including his biggest haters can take that series away from him)
  • Today he thrives because sadly there is no one else to challenge him. It is a scary thought but it is true.
  • His performances have been on a constant decline – with one bright spark throwing up everytime when his place has been questioned, is not the sign of a great bowler.
  • You can compare the first 98 matches of Bhajji and the great spin trio of our times. A look at the bowlers’ performances for the first 98 matches (same as what Harbhajan has currently played) and you see clearly who is average among the four
  • Barring Warne, no one had a strong pace attack to back them up
  • Bhajji’s performance against SL (52 @ 38.80) and Pak (25 @ 52.04) is the worst of the lot
  • I don’t get the hype about his 400 wickets. If you get to play 100 matches – and you are supposedly a decent bowler you get to 400 wickets – cause if you cannot get atleast 4 wickets in a match you have no business playing in the side for 13 years as a frontline spinner.
  • The strike rate of Bhajji among all the greats he is placed with today(on account of number of his wickets) is the most poor – almost touching 70
  • In the total playing years of getting to 98 matches, Bhajji has clocked an Average > 35 for 7 of those 13 years, 4 of those years since 2006. For the trio this phenomenon (which never exceeded 4 times in their entire career) was mostly noticed during their first year in international cricket and towards the end.
  • Bhajji is 31 today – the age when bowlers/batsmen peak in their careers. Just how do you explain the decline in his form? There were glimpses of a resurgence in 2010 Vs SA and NZ but in WI/Eng he has been a disappointment again.
  • Since 2006, Bhajji’s average has increased by 5 points and strike rate increased by 8.3 points
  • Away wins – In terms of number of wickets taken Bhajji ranks overall at 38  (54 wickets) while Zaheer(83) ranks 13 and Kumble(80) ranks 14. 40 of Bhajji’s 54 wickets have come when either Zak or Kumble played.
  • Post Kumble, Bhajji contributed to 11 wins(56 wickets @27.89) Vs Swann – 18 wins(85 wickets@22.76) , Zaheer 10wins at ( 53 wickets @23.69) and Ishaant 10 wins (41 wickets @25.92). 
  • – Bhajji contributed to 4 wins (18 wickets @ 23.77) Vs Swann – 6 wins (36 @ 25.02) , Zaheer – 4 wins (24 @ 22.29) and Ishaant – 6 wins ( 24 wickets @ 27.50)
  • Just what makes Bhajji so special to be holding onto his place in the test side? Try the others, let them fail and then we are on even ground.

But here is why all those points I mentioned above are pointless when you try to debate with @cricketingview. This is how the “Bhajji Defense Program”  works:

IF (Argument = Anti-Bhajji) Then



  1. You cannot compare finger and wrist spinner
  2. Bhajji had no supporting pace attack
  3. Bhajji had no spinner friendly pitches
  4. Pace attack was smashed cannot blame Bhajji
  5. Performances Vs SL-Pak – teams not worth including
  6. I can compare Ishaant a pace bowler to prove Bhajji’s superiority, if you do so, well you are wrong in comparing pace and spin
  7. I can compare Warne, Murali, Kumble, Swann and Bhajji – if you do so – do you not understand points 1 & 2?
  8. Bhajji will only take wickets when he has good supporting bowlers, groom Ashwin/Ojha to help Bhajji get back to form
  9. Bhajji did not get wickets – he was being defensive and stemming the run flow
  10. Bhajji went for too many runs – he was taking risks in trying to get wickets


While (Other party runs out of patience)

If anyone of you can pull out an Anti-Bhajji stat that cannot be countered by the Bhajji Defense Program – The Drinks Are On Me!