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Arthur slams Harbhajan

Former Proteas coach critical of bowler's performance

Harbhajan: Under fire

Former South Africa coach Mickey Arthur believes Harbhajan Singh has no place in the India team following the Proteas' comfortable win in the first Test at Nagpur.

"Harbhajan, who has in my opinion been below his best for several years now, must be questioning his future."

Mickey Arthur

Quotes of the week

India's star slow bowler Harbhajan struggled on a pitch which was meant to be suited to spinners, as the tourists recorded a convincing innings-and-six-run victory inside four days earlier this week.

Harbhajan, who has taken 347 wickets in 82 Tests, took 2-166 in his 46 overs during South Africa's first-innings 558-6 declared, but Arthur has questioned his role in the side.

"The lack of penetration in the Indian attack must also be a huge cause for concern," Arthur told the Hindustan Times.

"Zaheer (Khan) bowled well but lacked support while Harbhajan, who has in my opinion been below his best for several years now, must be questioning his future.

"His bowling lacked the zip and sting that was so characteristic in the early years of his career. He must be honest with himself and the management and selectors must be honest too.

Praise

"There is no place for sentiment in Test cricket - reputation and history should count for very little when selecting your best XI. (Amit) Mishra bowled well but even he didn't look likely to bowl South Africa out."

Arthur, who stepped down as Proteas coach two weeks ago after almost five years in charge, hailed the efforts of compatriots Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis and Dale Steyn, but was unimpressed by the India middle order.

"Dale Steyn led the South African attack as well as any number one rank bowler has ever done in the history of Test cricket, and he deserves the highest praise," added Arthur.

"But if the Indian middle order represents the next generation then the current number one ranked team have problems for the future.

"They looked vulnerable at all times against pace bowling and, apart from imperious Sachin Tendulkar and the unique Virender Sehwag, never looked likely to offer any sustained resistance.

"It looked like the India of old - easily bullied and intimidated by the quick men."

The second Test in the two-match series gets underway in Kolkata on Sunday.