Home > IPL News > Slap-gate distant past, Bhajji focussed now

Slap-gate distant past, Bhajji focussed now


Last year’s slapping row with S Sreesanth and the subsequent ban firmly behind him, feisty Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh says he is focussed on making an impact in the Indian Premier League’s second edition.

“I missed the whole IPL last year because of reasons well known. But I’m looking forward to come back and it should be nice against Andrew Symonds, Matthew Hayden and all these big guys,” said Harbhajan, who was banned from inaugural IPL season after playing only three matches for Mumbai Indians for slapping Sreesanth.

Harbhajan slapped Sreesanth after a match between Mumbai Indians and Kings XI Punjab in Mohali for which he was banned for 11 matches which cost him around Rs 3 crore.

The Punjab off-spinner, who was in prime form during India’s just-concluded tour of New Zealand scalping 16 wickets, said the main reason Team India has been doing well is that the players are no more insecure about their place in the side.

“Why we are winning is because we are playing good cricket. Everyone is performing, everyone is willing to be a champion. A lot of credit must go to the support staff and team management for giving the surety to all the players that they would be getting at least 10-15 games. That gives a player a lot of confidence,” Harbhajan told a website.

“This team has a lot of talent of course like Viru (Sehwag), Gautam (Gambhir), Yuvraj (Singh), (MS) Dhoni, (Suresh) Raina … who have been doing big things which helps us believe we can win anywhere in any sort of conditions,” Harbhajan said.

“Probably that was lacking earlier, but now everyone is confident. They are not worried about their places, people go out to play for the team rather than playing for themselves.”

Harbhajan’s six-wicket haul in the second innings in Hamilton inspired India to a 10-wicket win, their first in 33 years in New Zealand before taking seven wickets in the drawn final Test in Wellington.

“It is always challenging bowling abroad – you don’t get much spin, bounce. You do get bounce but you don’t get sideways spin. It is always drifting kind of spin you get. Also with Anil bhai not being there it was challenging and there was a lot of responsibility on me as the senior spinner to do well. This was my third tour there and I’m glad that my wickets came at the right time – we won the game in Hamilton and we almost won it in Wellington, too.”

Harbhajan has now set his sights on a Test century and for this he said he would take tips from Sachin Tendulkar, his Mumbai Indians captain.

“One day I will get my hundred. I would like to spend time with Sachin, who has got so many centuries, and probably he can advise me to slow down or what I need to do to get from 60 to 100.”

He admitted Twenty20 was a batsman’s game but the bowlers will have to be brave and patient to earn success in this format.

“It is tough on bowlers. You need to be little more brave and smart and go with the flow. In this format you need to be smart rather than bowling magic balls.” 


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