Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh on Monday admitted that he was nervous ahead of his 100th Test match, and added that a bowler’s spirit remains high as long he is taking wickets.
Harbhajan claimed two wickets on the fourth day of the opening Test match against Australia to help India inch closer to win at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.
Talking about his performance in the match, the veteran spinner told BCCI’s official portal, “Obviously, this is a big game but it’s just nice to be back in the team. We’ve done well as a unit in the last four days to be where we are today.”
“The 10th wicket partnership [between Moises Henriques and Nathan Lyon] has been frustrating for us but cricket is all about showing such character. I scored one of my Test centuries with a No. 11 batsman too. We have to ensure that we don’t take things for granted. We need to finish things off tomorrow quickly and start the series with a big win,” he said.
Harbhajan admitted that it is important for any bowler to keep taking wickets that helps him to remain confident.
“I think it’s the case with most of the bowlers. When you get a wicket early in your spell your confidence goes to a different level. You bowl freely and you know exactly what you’re doing,” he said.
Harbhajan said Indian spinners’ plan of drawing out the Australian batsmen clicked for them, as they didn’t allow the opposition to stage a comeback.
“To be honest in the first innings I was nervous and I believe I could’ve bowled a little better than what I did. I was a bit on the shorter side and they played me mostly off the back-foot. In the second innings I tried to draw the batsmen forward and let them drive on the front foot to score runs. It was a collective plan which proved very successful for all three spinners,” he said.
Harbhajan added, “I’m pretty satisfied with the way I bowled today although I picked only two wickets. I always say that bowling well is in your hands but getting wickets depends on various other factors. My job is to try and bowl well. On my day I’ll pick a lot of wickets.”
Talking about Australian batsman David Warner’s dismissal, he said, “Most times you plan for a wicket – whether you want to get the batsman out caught in the slip, silly-point or in any other way.”
“And it’s always nice when that plan works. It gives you that extra confidence. It might take a little longer for the plan to succeed and at times it won’t work. But you need to stick to it. If you can’t pick up wickets, put pressure on the batsman by not giving away runs,” Harbhajan added.
The 32-year-old off-spinner, who’s playing his 100th Test match, recalled the time spent with former cricketer Anil Kumble.
“I’ve enjoyed each and every moment spent with Anil bhai and he’s been a great role-model for me and for many of us who played along with him. I would definitely love to give whatever I have to the youngsters and help them grow in whatever way I can. The young guys must know that I’m always present for them,” he said.
“Having said that, it’s not only me imparting knowledge to them; I too learn many things from them when I have a chat with them. You do get to learn a few new tricks from the younger guys that you’re not aware of. It’s always nice to have a group of three-four good bowlers,” he added.
First Published: February 25, 2013, 11:26 pm