Bhajji thanks Anil bhai after the win | cricket | Hindustan Times
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Bhajji thanks Anil bhai after the win

The stage was set for the kill. South Africa were not allowed to stand up after losing the plot on the first day and despite losing about two-third of Day IV, India were ideally placed to land the knockout punch. The visitors proved worthy challengers for the No. 1 crown by pushing India to the brink and making them look like a dominating football team unable to score.

cricket Updated: Feb 19, 2010 00:29 IST
HT Correspondent

The stage was set for the kill. South Africa were not allowed to stand up after losing the plot on the first day and despite losing about two-third of Day IV, India were ideally placed to land the knockout punch. The visitors proved worthy challengers for the No. 1 crown by pushing India to the brink and making them look like a dominating football team unable to score.

Sixteen minutes from time, the striker in turban struck. Harbhajan Singh was hissing around the bat and pad during that phase and missing the mark narrowly. The celebration after the last wicket was an announcement that he has completed the transition from being Anil Kumble's partner in crime to the principal weapon in the most demanding of situations.

The feisty Sardar let it rip after his first five-wicket haul in India after Kumble's retirement. “The media create a sensation that Bhajji is not bowling well, doing this and doing that to sell their products. Each time I fail to take wickets despite bowling well, they start saying things. But I have got my own people who are always there for me,” he was still hissing.

Having done what was expected of him in a big game, there were words of gratitude for the most efficient finisher India has produced.

“Anil Kumble calls me and tells me there is nothing wrong with me. It's just that you guys are creating sensational stories and calling Kumble to ask what is wrong with Harbhajan. He just told me to be the way I am and I was bowling well. He spoke to me about field placements too. Thank you Anil bhai.”

A proven matchwinner in such conditions, Harbhajan said he wasn't nervous when it got close. “The whole game I have been relaxed and knew that if I bowl in the right areas, I will create the opportunities. I knew what I was doing. I wanted to pitch the ball up and to get him leg-before wicket or bat-pad at silly point or in the slips. In cricket, partnerships will happen. You just have to keep bowling the way you know you can to get people out.”

It was nostalgic for Harbhajan too, having shot to prominence at Eden Gardens against Australia in 2001. “Every player has his own special ground. Anil bhai always enjoyed bowling in Delhi and I enjoy bowling at the Eden because I have always done well here. The crowd is fantastic and the noise they make lifts the team.”