Chappell knows what he's doing: Harbhajan
In an interview with Sunit Kaul, Bhajji defends Greg's experiments saying that it's all part of build-up to WC.Updated: Oct 09, 2006 14:30 IST
At 26 years of age, Harbhajan Singh has achieved what other spinners will dare to dream at 35.
He's not only considered by cricket pundits as India's best off-spinner, but also the most potent arsenal in the team's armoury in the build-up to next year's World Cup.
In a freewheeling interview with this scribe on the sidelines of a press conference, Bhajji defends the experimentation policy, talks about his batting ability and assures of a better show in Champions Trophy.
Where did we go wrong in Malaysia tri-series?
We just didn't play well. We could have done much better… the luck was also against us. It was sad, but I believe there is no reason to panic. If we just keep performing to our potential, which I'm sure we will, we will be back to the winning ways.
Don't you think the constant shuffling of the batting order is making it even more difficult for Team India to win?
Everyone is entitled to their view. But, it's all part of our buildup to next year's World Cup. Rahul and Greg are doing a great job. They want to find out the best possible position for all players… they want to see whether players can take responsibility on their shoulders. Greg knows what he is doing.
But isn't the current team performance being sacrificed in the name of experimentation?
If experiments click in one series, nobody talks about it. But if they don't, media creates an unnecessary hype. We just want to get the best results.
Are you worried by the fact that India is losing its spin legacy? There's hardly anybody after you and Kumble…
No, there are a lot of young spinners in National Cricket Academy that are coming up. Piyush Chawla is one that has a lot of potential. Other spinners are also doing really well in domestic cricket. Piyush could play in the team in 1-2 years.
Don't you think that coach Greg Chappell is focussing more on fast bowlers rather than spinners? These days only one regular spinner is played in the side.
The bowling combination depends on the conditions. If the pitch is juicy, it makes sense to play four fast bowlers.
What are your plans for the upcoming Champions Trophy?
Champions Trophy is a big tournament. We have done really in this tournament in the past; I'm up for it. And since we are playing at home this time, with good support behind us, I'm sure we will give our best.
In March 2001, you were at the peak of your career when you decimated the Australians. But somehow you've not been able to reach those heights again. Are you doing things differently?
That was the golden period of my career. That is a phase that only comes once or twice in a cricketer's lifetime. Whatever I did at that time it clicked for me… I still can't believe that I took 32 wickets in 3Tests and 28 wickets in 2 Tests. If it was left for me, I would like the same thing to happen to me everyday.
But that is not possible. If that were the case, Sachin Tendulkar would smash a century in every match. You've to accept the fact that the person at the other end also knows how to play well. The only thing is that you put in 100% whenever you walk out to bowl. And that is what I try to do.
Don't you think you have not done justice to your batting talent? Even Sachin feels you're a clean hitter of the ball.
I know I haven't batted as I can. But I'm maturing now and playing according to the team's need. Earlier, I used to play a lot of shots. I'm working hard on my batting, but bowling is my priority.
What is the difference between Harbhajan of 1998 and Harbhajan of 2006?
I've matured a lot from 1998. Right now, I'm a senior member of the team, so I have to behave and act in a careful and responsible manner, both on and off the field. But I still have a lot to learn. The youngsters look up to me and I look up to Sachin and Kumble.
Do you miss Sourav Ganguly?
It really doesn't matter if I miss someone or not. My best wishes are with everyone, whether it be Sachin Tendulkar or Pathiv Patel.
First Published: Sep 29, 2006 20:55 IST