April 10, 2013

Mumbai v Delhi, IPL 2013, Mumbai

Ponting and Harbhajan hug and make up

Nikita Bastian
Ricky Ponting gets a hug from Harbhajan Singh after pulling off a stunning catch, Mumbai Indians v Delhi Daredevils, IPL, Mumbai, April 9, 2013
The hug that took "a few years" to happen  © BCCI


Ricky Ponting and Harbhajan Singh have quite a history. Ponting's struggles against Harbhajan's offspin in the noughties aside, there has been plenty of verbal back and forth between the two over the years. When Australia toured India in late 2007 for a limited-overs series, Ponting had taken a dig at Harbhajan's on-field comments saying: "Good luck to him. I don't care what he has got to say, to tell you the truth. He has got plenty to say on the field, but whenever anyone says something back to him he is the first to run away from it." Harbhajan returned the compliment after India's triumph in the 2008-09 Test series, saying: "Ponting had a lot to say about our players and about the way we play our cricket. In fact, it is Ponting who first needs to go and learn to bat against spin bowling. I can get Ponting out any time, I think I can get him even after I come post a six-month lay-off." In between came the intense, controversy-ridden 2007-08 Test series in Australia, in which the racial row overshadowed most of the cricket.

Fastforward to April 2013. It's the Indian Premier League. It's Mumbai Indians beginning their defence of 209 against Delhi Daredevils. Unmukt Chand reaches out first ball, gets a leading edge. The fielder at extra cover runs to his right to claim the chance, stumbles a bit, still manages to dive, sticks his right hand out and grabs hold of the ball while still mid-air. He picks himself up and stands with arms spread out, while the bowler rushes to embrace him. The fielder is Ponting, the bowler, Harbhajan.

After Mumbai completed a crushing win, Ponting joked in a TV interview that that hug had "taken a few years" to materialise. In IPL seasons past, we had seen the main protagonists of the Sydney Test controversy, Harbhajan and Andrew Symonds, similarly embracing in Mumbai Indians' garb. This year we've seen Ponting, Kumble and Tendulkar - the supporting cast in Sydney - amicably discussing strategy on the sidelines. That's the IPL for you. Or maybe it's just Mumbai Indians.

Nikita Bastian is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Keywords: Mindgames, Spirit of cricket

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (April 12, 2013, 12:11 GMT)

Coincidence? I think not! This is the beauty of our game. It may break a relationship but it will mend it again as well! Great to see them embrace. :D

Posted by   on (April 12, 2013, 1:24 GMT)

and sometimes IPL can also feud teammates, KOHLI vs. GAMBHIR, NOT GOOD.

Posted by   on (April 11, 2013, 4:22 GMT)

it all started when they were both young. in an odi harbhajan took wicket of ponting and showed him the pavilion. in return ponting pushed his elbow onto harbhajan while walking out. its still there on youtube when you search for harbhajan and ponting.

Posted by Rick777 on (April 11, 2013, 2:59 GMT)

Its $ and then shows how IPL can make foes good team mates. Hats off.

Posted by   on (April 10, 2013, 20:03 GMT)

Something that I like about IPL...

Posted by Batmanindallas on (April 10, 2013, 18:30 GMT)

IPL has tempered and made cricket more friendlier among players. It has helped them know and understand people different from them...that I believe is a good thing

Posted by vatsap on (April 10, 2013, 13:13 GMT)

It would be good to think that IPL brings players together, but it is also about the moolah. Atleast Ricky Ponting was candid enough to admit before the IPL season that we are all friends for the next few months. Indian players generally do not socialize too well outside of their dressing room and very reserved in their comments towards opponents. May be it is just in their nature.

There was one funny comment from Bhajji, in 2006-07 Australia, when asked how he rated Ricky, he replied that he doesnt know as Ponting has not batted against him long enough.

Posted by VixV on (April 10, 2013, 12:22 GMT)

I think IPL is developing circlet culture in players life. Compared to when they play for their own country. This helps in making them a more gentlemen then a player, which this game is all about now a days.

Posted by A-Gunnie on (April 10, 2013, 11:22 GMT)

Lets face it......it's all about the $$$.

Posted by Sandt on (April 10, 2013, 11:02 GMT)

It is not performace always in IPL. IPL is a festival to entertain people just like a multistar bollywood movie with all actors doing their bit to entertain people.One good thing about IPL is these legend players coming together for same team.It is truly a gem of a movement for the cricket lovers.

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