Tendulkar's presence motivated the team, says Harbhajan

Harbhajan Singh praised his team for showing character under pressure and hoped that it is just the start of some great results in the tournament AFP

Chennai: Sep 25, 2011

Mumbai Indians upstaged defending champions Chennai Super Kings despite missing some key players in their Champions League Twenty20 opener and stand-in skipper Harbhajan Singh felt his side’s cause was helped by the inspiring presence of injured regular captain Sachin Tendulkar in the dressing room.

“It is nice to have Sachin around even if he is not playing. It is a great sign because he is a great player and great motivator. To have him in the dressing room obviously motivates all the players and he has got the knowledge to pass on,” Harbhajan said after the three-wicket triumph last night.

“He was sending messages whenever it was required. He was happy with the result. To be honest it is difficult not to have Sachin in the side and Rohit Sharma and Munaf (Patel) were also not there. It is not the same side for us in the tournament,” he added.

Tendulkar is not playing the tournament due to a toe injury he picked up during India’s recent tour of England.

Harbhajan praised his team for showing character under pressure and hoped that it is just the start of some great results in the tournament.

“I think this win will set the tone for us to go forward, we do not want to take things for granted. We have won this game and this will definitely boost our confidence. We would like to stay very humble in the remaining matches and do what we can do at our best,” he said.

Mumbai’s win came courtesy a Lasith Malinga cameo during which he scored 37 runs off just 24 balls.

“When we were batting in the middle, Malinga and myself were looking to play all the overs. It was Malinga’s day and he played a good innings. Malinga has proved that he can come up with valuable runs and take a lot of responsibility. I can count on him for the future that if there are runs to chase, Malinga is there and anything can happen,” Harbhajan said.

Asked whether going forward in this tournament without knowing the quality of the other teams would affect his plans, Harbhajan said, “Most of the guys from overseas also play in IPL and we do have some footage of the others, whom we have not played. We will see the footage and plan our game.

“At the end of the day, it comes down to how well you will bowl, bat and field on a given day and even if you plan, the guys have to execute them,” he added.

Meanwhile, Malinga said he was happy to contribute with the bat even though bowling remains his primary job.

“I am playing in Mumbai Indians as a bowler. But, sometimes you have got to get a few runs in crucial times,” he said.(PTI)