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Time to step forward, Harbhajan the bowler

cricket Updated: Nov 19, 2010 22:56 IST
Atreyo Mukhopadhyay
Atreyo Mukhopadhyay
Hindustan Times
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Harbhajan Singh looked at the overcast sky after stepping into the ground, ball in hand here on Friday afternoon before heading to the centre where the pitch was covered in anticipation of rain.

He had the covers removed, got down on all fours feeling the surface with his palms and taking a close look.

India's main spinner was trying to fathom what he could extract from the pitch with the team looking to him to clear the gloom it suddenly finds itself in.

"Batsman or bowler?" Daniel Vettori said in a lighter vein when asked how big a threat Harbhajan posed to New Zealand's hopes of frustrating India one final time.

"There is no question of taking him lightly," said Vettori. "Harbhajan is one of the spinners that I admire for the vast repertoire he possesses. That he has not taken too many wickets in the series (six in two Tests) doesn't matter. We know what he can do."

Harbhajan finds himself in a situation similar to the one India faced against South Africa in Kolkata last February. Zaheer Khan was unavailable and India needed seven wickets on a slow and firm pitch on the last day to win and become the world's No. 1 Test team.

Opening the bowling, Harbhajan returned figures of 48.3-23-59-5 to help fulfill the great Indian dream.

M.S. Dhoni is expecting the off-spinner to do the trick again.