India will stay focused - Harbhajan Singh
Harbhajan Singh, who hit the winning six in the see-saw match against Pakistan, has said India won't lose their focus in the Asia Cup after the high of beating their arch-rivals. He had launched the penultimate ball of Saturday's contest to pull off a thrilling victory which secured India's place in the final against Sri Lanka.
"You obviously feel proud and happy that we won the game against Pakistan, but this tournament isn't over yet," Harbhajan said after India's practice session on Monday. "There are two more important matches to play, and we are looking to finish the tournament on a good note."
Harbhajan also stressed that his focus was mainly on his bowling and not on his batting. "I'm not an allrounder," he said. "Firstly, I'm a bowler who can bat a bit and I want to keep it like that. I don't take too much of pressure on myself by being called an allrounder."
Ahead of the Asia Cup, MS Dhoni had spoken about the dearth of quality fast-bowling allrounders in India, and Harbhajan also highlighted the lack of multi-skilled cricketers. "There was only one allrounder India has produced, that was Sir Kapil Dev," he said. "After that forget Kapil Dev, we haven't even produced an allrounder half as good as Kapil."
India have a decent record against Sri Lanka in bilateral series over the past few years, but have fallen short against them in several multi-team tournaments. Harbhajan said India needed to be wary of the Sri Lankan side. "They are a very good side, if you see their batting line-up, they have a very good line-up, Mahela [Jaywardene], [Kumar] Sangakkara and [Angelo] Mathews," he said. "Their bowling is also quite good, we need to play as well as we can."
The visitors' chances received a blow when experienced opener Virender Sehwag was forced out of the tournament by a hamstring injury. The Indian squad had a new member joining them on Monday morning after Dinesh Karthik was flown in as a replacement. Karthik and Saurabh Tiwary, one of whom is likely to take Sehwag's place in the XI for India's two remaining matches, both had lengthy batting sessions in the afternoon.
Harbhajan remained confident of a good performance despite missing three of their most experienced players. "All the players who are here have performed well whenever given the chance, whether it's Pragyan Ojha, Dinesh Karthik or Virat Kohli," he said. "I think we shouldn't think of them as youngsters, they are here because they are good enough."
Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at Cricinfo