Suresh Raina says Harbhajan Singh is a match-winner

Suresh Raina said there wasn’t much help in the wicket which prevented them to register a win Getty Images

Mohali: Nov 6, 2011

Uttar Pradesh captain Suresh Raina lamented there wasn’t much in the Mohali wicket which prevented them from recording an outright win against Punjab.

“We tried, but there wasn’t much in the wicket. The bowlers did not get much help,” Raina told reporters here after the match ended in a draw.

The formidable UP team got three points by virtue of their first innings lead.

Praising his team, he said, “They showed great attitude and real character. We dominated the proceedings for three days and that is satisfying. Hopefully, in the coming matches, we will perform even better.”

The match was picture of contrast for the two Test discards — Raina and Harbhajan Singh.

While former scored a smashing double century, the veteran off-spinner went wicketless from the 28 overs he bowled.

However, Raina did not want to judge Harbhajan’s performance by just one Ranji match after being out of the national team.

“Harbhajan is a match-winner with more than 10 years of experience behind him. On many occasions, he has come up with match-winning performances. You cannot judge him by just a single performance. When he gets chance, you will see him giving his best for Team India,” Raina said.

Needing to bat the whole day to save the match, Punjab trio of Karan Goel (55), Mandeep Singh (51) and Mayank Sidhana (76) showed a lot of determination to steer their side to a draw.

On his team’s performance, Punjab’s coach Vikram Rathore said he felt that his team could have got 100-110 runs more to apply pressure on UP.

Rathore also felt that his bowlers need to bowl better.

Asked about how he felt the wicket had played, he said, “We were expecting a slow batting wicket. It was a slow wicket. We didn’t bowl that well obviously…in the next match against Orissa, we will have greener wicket.”

He informed that their key batsman Uday Kaul will be available in the next match after his return from the NCA.

On Harbhajan remaining wicketless, Rathore said, “It’s just a game. You don’t get wickets every day. Only thing as a coach, I am expecting him to give his best, which he has.” (PTI)