Harbhajan Singh upbeat ahead of the semi-final clash

Mumbai Indians captain Harbhajan Singh admitted that lack of form of the top order batsmen is a concern for his team AFP

By CricketCountry Staff

Chennai: Oct 8, 2011

Mumbai Indians (MI) and Somerset will clash on Saturday in the second semi-final for a berth in the finals against Royal Challengers Bangalore. Mumbai Indians captain Harbhajan Singh looked confident in the press conference ahead of the important clash on Saturday in Chennai as he spoke about his team’s road to semi-finals, local conditions and captaincy.

MI skipper Harbhajan Singh said his side has been fortunate enough to have been allowed to play five foreign players owing to lot of injuries in the team. He said, “First of all, I’m thankful to the Nokia CLT20 Technical Committee for allowing us to play five international players so far. They have been very supportive in the time when we had a lot of injuries and no real backup.

“At the same time, now that we don t have that luxury, we’re not complaining. Surya Kumar Yadav has joined us; he’s fit and looking forward to playing in the big game. I don’t know how much of a luxury it was for us since we had to manage with whatever players we had.”

Harbhajan also praised youngsters in the team for proving their mettle at the highest level.

“Guys like Sarul [Kanwar], [R] Sathish and [T] Suman have an opportunity to show their mettle. It’s good that we’re testing these youngsters on this platform as it puts us in a better position to plan for IPL 5,” he said.

The Mumbai Indians skipper said that he will have to make a tough call on which foreign player to play for the semi-final clash as star batsman Kieron pollard was fit for the Saturday s match.

“Pollard is fit and he’ll play tomorrow. We haven’t decided yet which player to leave out but it’s going to be a tough call because all of them are very important players. We’ll make a decision with the intention of fielding our best eleven.”

Harbhajan though admitted that lack of form of the top order batsmen is a concern for his team.

“The top-order is a concern as they haven’t performed up to expectation. Having said that, T20 is a format where you don’t have to be in the best of form to score runs or get wickets. I believe if you can connect five balls well with the bat, it could be your day.

“If a bowler gets a wicket early, he becomes a different bowler in the tournament. I’m not too concerned about how we have done thus far; it’s just the matter of doing well in the two coming games. I just want the guys to give it their best and then whatever the result, we’ll take it.”

Harbhajan looked at the brighter side of not having experienced players in the side.

He said, “It’s always tough when you have only half of your best players but the challenge brings out the best out of some people. It was a great opportunity for me to not only lead the team but also pass on my knowledge to the younger boys. It’s been a great journey and the boys have supported me really well.

Harbhajan also added that being a bowler does not affect leading the team on field. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a batsman or a bowler. You must have good plans and the right resources to implement them. At times your smallest of moves may work and sometimes the best of plans might fail and people will judge you as a captain accordingly,” he added.

The turbanator expected the Chepauk wicket to be slow on Saturday when they meet Somerset in the second semi-final.

“So far it’s been very satisfying, the way I’ve bowled and batted. I don’t know how the wicket is going to play. There is a lot of talk of it being slow and low but David Warner scored a century on the very same track. At this stage, we should be prepared to play on any kind of track. If we don’t do well, it would be wrong to blame the conditions or facilities,” he said.