Team pins hopes on Bhajji coming good
Australia usually bring out the best out of Harbhajan Singh and the man too admits that he relishes the challenge of battling against the best team of his generation, reports Atreyo Mukhopadhyay.cricket Updated: Nov 01, 2009 23:32 IST
Australia usually bring out the best out of Harbhajan Singh and the man too admits that he relishes the challenge of battling against the best team of his generation.
However, the ongoing series is yet to see the familiar sight of Harbhajan celebrating animatedly — sprinting towards a distant corner of the outfield after taking a wicket or letting out that victorious war cry that inspires his teammates.
Reason: His below par performance so far.
The pitches for one-dayers in India offer little to bowlers and it hasn't been any different in this series barring Saturday's game in Delhi. But Harbhajan has overcome such odds in the past. Not only is he failing to extract spin, the offie is making things difficult for himself by straying in line and bowling on both sides which has resulted in eight wides in three games.
Also, he is rarely giving the ball air and making right-handers drive against the turn. Three wickets off 30 overs with an economy rate of 5.20 is not what the team expects of him.
“He gave away just 37 runs in 10 overs today,” said Yuvraj Singh after the third match. “He's bowling well… just that he isn't getting wickets. Most pitches here are batsman-friendly and it's really hard for spinners. “But hopefully, he will gain confidence from the way he bowled today and deliver in the upcoming games.”
Despite losing two games on the trot, there is some consolation for the Australians in the way they have handled Harbhajan so far. “As far as taking wickets goes, we've played him pretty well,” said Ricky Ponting. “In the first two games, we took him for around 60 runs (57 and 62). A lot of our guys have played a lot against him and have come up with a plan to be able to play him in these conditions.”
Not many visiting captains have been able to say this of India's principal spinner. Before the match in Delhi, Mahendra Singh Dhoni was asked about Harbhajan and he said: “He isn't bowling at his best and it's a question of one good match before he bounces back.”
The skipper will hope the Turbanator comes good in his backyard with thousands cheering him from the stands.