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Harbhajan Singh: We did not take Jammu and Kashmir lightly

Harbhajan Singh scored 92 in Punjab's total of 304 © Getty Images
Harbhajan Singh scored 92 in Punjab’s total of 304 © Getty Images

Vadodara: Jan 8, 2014

Punjab captain Harbhajan Singh on Wednesday said that Jammu and Kashmir have capable players in their ranks and his side did not take them lightly in their Ranji Trophy quarterfinal match.

“We do not take J & K team lightly and their bowlers did well and dominated the innings at one point of time when out batsmen started losing wickets,” Harbhajan, who scored 92 in his side’s 304 all out, said after the end of the opening day’s play at Moti Baug Stadium.

“It was a satisfactory day for us at the end of the day’s play. But I cannot say whether it’s a sufficient total for taking a vital first innings lead. Cricket is funny game and J & K batsmen are capable of making runs,” he added.

Harbhajan said his side’s strategy would be to restrict J & K to a small total in their first innings. They have scored 11 for one in their first innings at the draw of stumps.

“I have full confidence in my bowlers who can bowl J & K out provided we bowl on the right spot on the pitch. Our strategy will be to restrict them when they resume their innings tomorrow and our bowlers will try to take advantage of morning dew on the pitch,” he said.

Asked about missing on a century by eight runs, the off-spinner said, “Our effort was to play positive cricket and I got good support from Sandeep Singh. I missed a century by 8 runs, I will make a hundred in another match.” On Yuvraj Singh, who was out for 10, Harbhajan said, “Yuvi is a player capable of making his team victorious and I say this because of my long experience of playing with him.”

J & K player Manzoor Dar said the his team has reached at this level by hard work. ”Our boys did well and through hard work. We have reached to this level despite Punjab players getting the advantage of good infrastructure facilities. Only one player of our team could play IPL,” Dar said.

J & K reached the Ranji Trophy quarterfinals this year for the first time in their history. In 2000, they had reached the knock-out stage of Ranji Trophy for the first time by making it to the pre-quarterfinals.

Dar said his side would hope to bat out the whole day on Thursday and take a first innings lead.

“We succeeded in taking the advantage of moisture and restricted Punjab from scoring more runs. It was Harbhajan who snatched the initiative from us and prevented a collapse to take their total to 304 runs,” he said.

“We are confident of putting up a good total in our first innings. Our batsmen will play well as the ball has started coming on to the bat at the fag end of the day’s play. That gives us hope to make good runs tomorrow. We will bat the whole day tomorrow,” Dar said.

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