Harbhajan Singh unfazed by captaincy

Harbhajan Singh said he was a far more mature cricketer and was actually looking forward to being the captain AFP

Chennai: Sep 23, 2011

If Harbhajan Singh is feeling the heat for his recent poor form, followed by an injury-induced absence from the ODI series against England and now saddled with captaincy of Mumbai Indians in the Champions League T20 tournament, he does not show it.

Pointing out that he had lead Mumbai in 2008 in place of Sachin Tendulkar who missed a few games due to injury, Harbhajan said he was a far more mature cricketer and was actually looking forward to being the captain.

“To be honest, it is great opportunity for me to lead Mumabi Indians. This is a similar scenario to the first IPL when Sachin was not available, but I am mature now. Obviously, I did not have any experience before that in leading a side.

“However, from the time Dhoni has taken over the captaincy of Indian team, we have been giving a lot of inputs to him and supported him and made sure that he is not the only one who is taking decisions,” Harbhajan said.

“And, being a senior player, this is what our role was in the Indian side and to support him on the field. I have learnt a lot during the last three to four years.

“Definitely, this is an opportunity and I try to put my best foot forward and whatever the boys we have since there has been lot of injuries to our players, we will surely put up some good performances with the available resources,” Harbhajan added.

“I will be looking for such support from Andrew Symonds, Kieron Pollard and other guys like Malinga. It should be good fun and I am looking forward to the challenges. It is an added responsibility and I am looking forward to it,” said Harbhajan, whose team is to take on the Chennai Super Kings here on Saturday.

On his own bowling that will have a lot of bearing on his team’s performance in the Champions League, Harbhajan said he had recovered fully from the abdominal strain that kept him out of the ODI series in England.

“I have recovered fully. It was frustrating sitting out and watching a lot of games on television. It is not nice when you are injured. I wanted to be in England and part of the One-day side because we did not have too many senior guys there.

“Sometimes, the results do not show what kind of cricket we have played, but obviously it was one of the disappointing tours for us in England. There were lot of injuries and a lot of seniors were not there. Hopefully, things will change soon and will be back on track and regain our top position in the ranking,” Harbhajan said.

On Mumbai Indians’ prospects in the Champions League, Harbhajan said he was taking one game at a time rather than looking too far ahead.

“We are not thinking too far. We are going to take one game at a time. We know that Chennai Super Kings is a very strong side. They have won the IPL twice and the Champions League as well and they have quality players in their side including Dhoni, Raina and Hussey and serious bowling as well.

“They have Bollinger, Ashwin, Morkel and others. They have done well as a team. I forgot to mention Vijay who has been fantastic for Chennai team,” Harbhajan said.

“There is a greater opportunity for all of us in Mumbai Indians to raise our hands and say we need to take the responsibility and put up a fight with them. Of course, if you are determined to putting up a fight, you would know what the result could be,” Harbhajan added.

When asked about other spinners who have been in the National reckoning, Harbhajan said no bowler could be judged on the basis of his performance in T20s but should be gauged in ODI and Test cricket.

“To be honest, I cannot judge someone from the four overs in the T20 format. Ashwin has been good and one of the guys who has done well over the years. Then there are guys like Mishra, Piyush Chawla, Pragyan Ohja and Abdullah.

“They can work hard to improve their game and become better bowlers and better cricketers for Team India. It is very important for the guys to take responsibility and do well.

“The IPL format is a kind of a cricket wherein anybody and everybody can come and perform well on a given day. But, the real test is ODIs and Test cricket. These guys have the potential to reach the highest levels,” Harbhajan opined.(IANS)