Rahane, Harbhajan and life on the sidelines

It's even more difficult, one can safely imagine, for an already established and one-time successful player to watch on from the outside as his mates do battle in the middle. Harbhajan Singh must surely be reflecting back on the times when he was the young turk and, when India played overseas, he was the preferred spinner, even ahead of Anil Kumble.

updated: March 22, 2013 13:37 IST
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Had Sunil Valson played even one game in the 1983 World Cup, it is unlikely that he would have remained in the consciousness of the Indian public for as long as he has now.

Valson, the left-arm fast-medium bowler from Delhi, was the only member of the squad that didn't get a game during India's triumphant march to the title, nearly 30 years back. It's unlikely that Valson would have enjoyed the experience; while it is true that he will forever remain a World Cup winner, Valson would much rather have played at least once in the tournament for he would then have felt that he had also made a tangible contribution to the team's cause.

Life can be extremely lonely for the fringe player, especially when on tour and even more so when the team isn't doing well. It's one thing when you realise that it's almost impossible to change a winning combination unless there are extraordinary developments. It's quite another to continue to warm the bench when, even with the team not doing well, there is a distinct reluctance to bring those on the sidelines in to play.

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