NEW DELHI, Feb 10 (PTI): A game-changer in his own right, mercurial off-spinner Harbhajain Singh says India is a team full of match-winners and even less-talked-about players such as Ashish Nehra would be seen turning around games in the upcoming World Cup in the sub-continent.
“Good thing is, everyone in this team has won matches for us in recent times. So India is in business even with its last men,” remarked Harbhajan who is beginning to peak to his potential ahead of the mega event. Harbhajan cites the example of Ashish Nehra who remains most under-rated in the eyes of the critics.
“Ashish shares the new ball, bowls in middle overs and is economical even in slog overs. He has picked up 59 wickets in the last two years in ODIs and it’s no joke. His wicket of AB de Villiers in Johannesburg turned the tide in our favour. Yet nobody talks about him,” he explained. Harbhajan actually sees such ignorance and indifference on the part of critics as advantage to India for it keeps lesser-known forces of India in prime shape.
“Personally for me, the high is to turn out in Indian jersey. That some critics have made a career out of criticising me doesn’t upset me now,” remarked Harbhajan who laughs off the suggestion that his ‘man-of-series’ act against New Zealand – 10 wickets and 2 centuries — was still not quite worthy in the eyes of his baiters.
“These purists don’t realise that flighting the ball isn’t such a clever idea now. You have men like AB de Villiers, Mahela Jayawardene and Younis Khan who would send a flighted delivery soaring into the orbit.
“You need to plan against batsmen, tailor yourself to situations and conditions. You need to know why the length on Indian pitches need to be fuller, why a little short of length on foreign pitches can aid your bounce.
“Give me some credit for knowing how to spin a ball. I am nearing 400 Test wickets,” he said. Harbhajan considers England the most unpredictable side in India’s group in the World Cup.
“England is unpredictable. It has a good bowling attack, a good batting line up which includes Kevin Pietersen and a few good all-round cricketers. Don’t read too much into their 1-6 humiliation at Australia’s hands.” South Africa, if anything, is even more balanced and Bangladesh, whom India take on in their own den, are extremely dangerous floaters.
“Bangladesh in their home conditions, and with their spinners, command respect. We need to turn out in full force to subdue them. It can just put us in groove for battles ahead,” he reckoned. And how does he sees his role? Does he has plans ready for specific batsmen?
“Anil bhai (Kumble) used to prepare to such great lengths against batsmen. I don’t visualise to that extent but yes you need to be up with your strategy.
“But as I said it’s not me alone. We have a good bowling unit,” concluded Harbhajan—contrary to what many critics feel.