Anil Kumble backed former India teammate Harbhajan Singh to lead Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) in the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) season, saying the off-spinner still has a lot to offer in the shortest format of the game.
The former India captain heaped praise on Harbhajan's ability to control the game despite the passing years.
He added that the Punjab-based franchise, who are yet to win an IPL title, can build their bowling unit around the veteran off-spinner and Axar Patel (Rs 12.5 crore), who was announced as their only retention earlier this month.
Harbhajan, who has picked up 127 wickets at 26.54 in 136 matches, was not part of the three-man retention list of Mumbai Indians (MI).
Notably, the 37-year-old had been playing for the three-time champions since the inaugural edition of IPL. He also led the team to title in the 2011 edition of Champions League T20.
The Punjab off-spinner is among the 16 marquee players at the IPL 2018 auction, which will be held in Bengaluru on January 27 and 28. His base price is Rs 2 crore.
"He [Harbhajan] could be the potential captain for Kings XI Punjab. They already have Axar Patel Patel, so Axar and Bhajji can be two spinners with whom they can revolve the bowling attack around," Kumble said during Star Sports' analysis show "Game Plan - The Marquee List".
"I think he still has consistency. He may not be picking wickets like what he used to but he is economical," the legendary leg-spinner added.
"Over the last couple of years, wrist spinners have come into play more than the finger spinners in T20s. In terms of what he can offer, it's definitely control. Irrespective of whether he has been playing, with all the experience he has, he still has control and he will deliver.
"His batting is certainly sometimes an asset. You never know when he can come and change the game. He is fearless, he brings that to his game as well, which I think Punjab need," the former India coach said.
Yuvraj, Harbhajan heading to Punjab?
Meanwhile, KXIP team mentor Virender Sehwag had earlier hinted that his team would go after Harbhajan and Yuvraj, given the popularity the two players enjoy in Punjab.
Notably, Yuvraj and Harbhajan are currently representing Punjab in Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament in Kolkata.
KXIP have Rs 67.5 crore to build the team for the new season. They also have three Right To Match (RTM) cards with which the team would be looking at bring back the likes of David Miller, Glenn Maxwell and Hashim Amla.