Harbhajan Singh
Harbhajan Singh led the way for Chennai with match-winning figures of 3/20 (AFP Photo)

The slowness of the Chepauk track might be attracting a lot of criticism but veteran offspinner Harbhajan Singh said while the wicket was difficult to bat, it was not unplayable.

Rival captains Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Virat Kohli expressed their disappointment over the wicket here after the opening match of the Indian Premier League turned out to be damp squib last night.

After Royal Challengers Bangalore got bundled out for 70 in 17.1 overs. Chennai Super Kings achieved the target in 17.4 overs, winning by seven wickets.

“See, it was a difficult pitch to bat on but it wasn’t like it was unplayable. We’re so used to watching matches on good wickets where no one complains when people score 170-180. But if it spins or seams a little, everyone has a problem, saying why is this happening?,” Harbhajan said at the post match press conference.

“No one has a problem with why so many runs are being made. So people actually forget that the bowler also has a job in cricket. Batsmen should struggle once in a while so that they understand that it should be a battle of bat and ball.

“In some places, yes, they played some rash shots as well. It was not that this was a 70 runs wicket. You’ll get at least 120 if you apply yourself,” Harbhajan, who won the man-of-the-match award for his spell of three for 20, said.

The 38-year-old admitted that he and his team were surprised at the amount of turn they got from the pitch.

“It was a wicket where it was holding a bit. We honestly didn’t expect it to turn so much as it did today. We played a practice match here and the wicket was a good one. We would have preferred to play on a wicket that wouldn’t spin as much as this did. Hopefully it would be better hereafter.”

Harbhajan, who did not have a great season in the 2018 edition of the IPL, said it was nice to be on the winning side and contributing to the team’s cause.

“It is nice to be on the winning side and contributing, especially taking the wickets of Virat (Kohli), AB (de Villiers) and Moeen (Ali)…top-order batters. This is the kind of performance that is expected from me, being the senior bowler in the side.

“Though people might think that I am old but the experience is something I have gained over the years, which no one can take away from me. I am glad to contribute to the win,” said the CSK tweaker.

Harbhajan praised his teammate Ravindra Jadeja, who took two wickets in the game, to be a key member of the Indian team in the upcoming World Cup in England.

“I feel someone like Ravindra Jadeja is always in the game as long as he is looking to spin the ball. He is someone, though I don’t want to talk way too much about the World Cup, I feel he could be a key member for the Indian team to win that. He bowls, bats and is a brilliant fielder, a gun fielder. Finger spinners should be given the responsibility and they will deliver,” said Harbhajan.