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Lack of application did us in, says Bhajji

The off-spinner pleads with the authorities to maintain the spin-friendly nature of wickets in India, reports Amol Karhadkar.
Hindustan Times | By Amol Karhadkar, Ahmedabad
UPDATED ON APR 05, 2008 02:47 PM IST

On a day when Harbhajan Singh surpassed Bishan Singh Bedi’s mark of 266 Test wickets to become India’s third highest wicket-taker after Anil Kumble and Kapil Dev, there were no celebrations for the off-spinner.

Instead, he raised his hand to “take the blame” for India’s pathetic batting display.

However, spin bowling being his forte, the off-spinner pleaded with the authorities to maintain the spin-friendly nature of wickets in India.

“You have to play on whatever wicket you get. Obviously, if the captain was unhappy with the pitch and the curator didn’t do anything about it then you just can’t help it,” Harbhajan said after India were bundled out for 76 in just 20 overs.

“The team’s strength is spin. No doubt, we have good young fast bowlers but till today all the matches we have won in India are because of our strength. What we are seeing nowadays is that pitches are being changed constantly. Previously, we used to get positive results, but now we see a lot of draws and results going against the Indian team.”

Harbhajan admitted he was surprised to find grass on the wicket.

“The last time when we played here, there was red soil. But now I don’t see red soil anywhere, not in Madras and even here the clay has been changed,” Harbhajan, who crossed Bedi’s mark by trapping Ashwell Prince leg before. “There is grass too. Every team plays to its strength (at home) and we should also do the same.”

Harbhajan admitted the Indian batsmen fell not because of the wicket but due to lack of application.

“We need to take the blame, we didn’t apply ourselves and played casual shots,” he said.

“You have to play according to the wicket. You can’t go and just swing your bat like in Chennai. I should have got some runs but I didn’t and I take the blame.”

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