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West Indies cannot be taken lightly: Harbhajan

india Updated: Jun 03, 2011 20:35 IST

IANS
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India cannot afford to take the West Indies lightly, according to Harbhajan Singh, vice-captain of the touring squad.

The 30-year-old off-spinner said the hosts, though without the hard-hitting Jamaican batsman Chris Gayle and experienced Shivnarine Chanderpaul, are yet a force to reckon with and the Indians will be wary of their threat on home soil.

"We don't want to take them lightly because they have some quality players," he was quoted as saying in the media.

Harbhajan was at the Queen's Park Oval for India's first training session ahead of Saturday's Digicel Pearls Twenty20 International against the West Indies.

India are without their star players Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh and fast bowler Zaheer Khan.

Harbhajan said the absence of seniors has given the youngsters a chance to cement their place in the team.

"A lot of these new guys have done well before. It’s a great opportunity for the young guys to perform well and cement their place,” he said.

"We are a good side and if we play to our potential we can come out very strong."

'The Turbanator' is pleased to be back in the Caribbean and is anticipating an exciting tour of the West Indies.

"It’s always nice to be back in the Caribbean. Playing in the Caribbean is always special. I’ve always enjoyed playing here. The people are always friendly and nice to talk to. The Caribbean is where we used to look at with all the strong cricketers (in the past)," he said.

Harbhajan is seven victims short of the 400-wicket club, but said his focus is not the personal target.

"My personal goal is to win the series and just do well with the bat and ball," he said.