India v New Zealand, 2nd Test, Hyderabad, 2nd day November 13, 2010

Harbhajan happy with Hyderabad pitch

ESPNcricinfo staff
21

He picked up the last four wickets and more than played his part in a superb Indian bowling performance on the second morning. At the end of the day's play, Harbhajan Singh was in good spirits. He may have been Man of the Match for his hundred in Ahmedabad, but the conditions for bowlers at the Motera for the second Test in succession had driven him to distraction. This surface, on which India took the last six New Zealand wickets for 81 runs, was much more to his liking.

"This is a good wicket for Test cricket," he said. "There is good bounce for fast bowlers, even for spinners. If you bowl slower in the air, there is bounce and so far, it has played pretty well. I hope it will continue to play even better for the bowlers as the days go on. On the third and fourth days, it might spin, it might not. But definitely, there is bounce."

Harbhajan had been the subject of criticism in recent times, with some pointing to a 40-plus average and a strike-rate in excess of 100 for the calendar year. When asked why India were so reluctant to cash in on their traditional strength, spin, his answer bordered on the indignant. "I think you should ask those people who make the wickets because I don't know," he said. "In every country the conditions are different. In Australia, there is bounce. In India, I don't know when I last played on a turner. Yes, I did play one match in Kanpur [2008 against South Africa]."

Harbhajan cited the pitch at the Brabourne Stadium as the sort that should be prepared if "Test cricket is to be preserved". At the Cricket Club of India last December, Sri Lanka won the toss and made nearly 400, but India won by an innings, with wickets for pace and spin alike. "We're not asking for a spin track," he said. "Sporting track just means that on the first day, the fast bowler must get carry, the edges must carry. On the fourth and fifth days, if there is turn and bounce, what's wrong with it? CCI was probably the best wicket I have played."

A cautious thumbs-up for Hyderabad, and something to ponder for curators all over India.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Aashish_goyal on November 14, 2010, 6:20 GMT

    @ Gizza..is it his fault to make flat pitches?...every bowler struggle on such pitches...and for ur information..check his recent record..in last 16 tests he got 64 wickets @ around 30...and with bat avrging more than 24...But anyways..with whom u can replace him as a spin bowler from Ind.?....He performs against big teams...check his record against Australia, South Africa,WI...againts all of these teams his avg is well below 30...

  • mike4j on November 14, 2010, 5:29 GMT

    This Hyderabad Stadium is one of the Best in the world. More games needs to be played here. I'm surprised why this stadium was not considered for the World Cup.

  • on November 14, 2010, 2:16 GMT

    This is an old story with Harbhajan Singh perhaps. If he gets wickets on a non turning track, the pitch becomes a spinners paradise for him and on the contrary, even a turning track, with Harbhajan being wicket less, is regarded as a dead pitch by him.But we must agree with bhajji this time..Motera was a hard time for spinners..

  • on November 14, 2010, 2:12 GMT

    the best pitch in recent memory is easily the scg pitch during the australia vs pakistan game at the start of this year, had everything you could want, seam movement on the first day that actually rewarded a team bowling first, consistent bounce and pace which allowed the batsmen to play their strokes and then more then enough turn towards the end of the game. You really cannot ask for anything more then that, well maybe except both teams actually trying to win the game but that is of course another story.

  • Gizza on November 14, 2010, 1:16 GMT

    Bhajji is overrated. Some of his fans commenting are using pointless statistics to defend him. The number of wickets a bowler gets (just like the total runs a batsman makes) doesn't tell you much. Courtney Walsh is fifth on the list of most wickets but Walsh is clearly not the fifth best bowler to have played the game. He is probably not even in the top five of West Indian fast bowlers. The average is much more important and his average is 31+ which is terrible even on flat pitches and jumps to 33+ excluding 2001 (remember when other spinners come they play against India's batsmen, Harbhajan bowls to non-Indian batsmen). Kumble was much better at home at least.

    And you can't say he got so many wickets in 2001 that is so old! You don't look to the past you look to the present. Hussey was batting very well 4 years ago but he is very close to being dropped now. He can't use his past form as an excuse. In most jobs if you don't perform properly NOW you get fired. Cricket is no different.

  • on November 14, 2010, 1:02 GMT

    @Rumi1 :please stop copy-pasting your comments on every article.....wasim jaffer !!! really?????kaif !!! they got their chance.....accept it .....its good that apart from the veterans the focus is on youngsters rather than the "once in a blue moon" performers

    and I dunno about you guyz but I pretty much believe that the guys in the centre(MSD and Kirsten) will make a better decision than any one of you even in their sleep!!!

  • cjscanada on November 13, 2010, 19:41 GMT

    Agree with Ashish. Even Murali could do nothing on flat pitches; check his average when he came to India. Ohja has bowled well in just one match. You need sporting pitches. Harbhajan is an aggresive bowler and improved batsman. He surely misses Anil, who created a lot of pressure on one side, which made Bhaji dangerous. Cricket is a team game and a lot of people start criticinzing based on failure of one or two test performance. Consider everything when you base comments. I don't think there is anyone better in Inida other than Bhaji. Also the other thing is when one is low on confidence, it is difficult to perform but class will prevail as a good cricketer will eventually work their way. We are lucky this is the best Indian team we have but to have better results we need sporting wickets for our fast bowlers or we will loose bowlers like Srisanth and Ishant as we have lost Irfan, RP and Munaf. It is difficult as everyone is not as intense as Zaheer.

  • on November 13, 2010, 19:38 GMT

    @Ashish: And perhaps the first bowler to get a hatrick for India in tests..He is much underrated..no one remembers that test match for his hatrick..but for Laxmans 281 vs Austraila..

  • on November 13, 2010, 19:37 GMT

    BhaJji, thats right. We need some bouncy and fast tracks so that our batsmen get accomodated to such kind of tracks. Also, a spinner who is considered to use slow tracks to take wickets must adapt to fast and bouncy pitches with some new techniques and innovative deliveries.

  • Meety on November 13, 2010, 19:28 GMT

    Any comments on Singhs send off of Ryder? Anyways a very good tussle here, NZ have certainly packed a surprisingly strong punch.

  • Aashish_goyal on November 14, 2010, 6:20 GMT

    @ Gizza..is it his fault to make flat pitches?...every bowler struggle on such pitches...and for ur information..check his recent record..in last 16 tests he got 64 wickets @ around 30...and with bat avrging more than 24...But anyways..with whom u can replace him as a spin bowler from Ind.?....He performs against big teams...check his record against Australia, South Africa,WI...againts all of these teams his avg is well below 30...

  • mike4j on November 14, 2010, 5:29 GMT

    This Hyderabad Stadium is one of the Best in the world. More games needs to be played here. I'm surprised why this stadium was not considered for the World Cup.

  • on November 14, 2010, 2:16 GMT

    This is an old story with Harbhajan Singh perhaps. If he gets wickets on a non turning track, the pitch becomes a spinners paradise for him and on the contrary, even a turning track, with Harbhajan being wicket less, is regarded as a dead pitch by him.But we must agree with bhajji this time..Motera was a hard time for spinners..

  • on November 14, 2010, 2:12 GMT

    the best pitch in recent memory is easily the scg pitch during the australia vs pakistan game at the start of this year, had everything you could want, seam movement on the first day that actually rewarded a team bowling first, consistent bounce and pace which allowed the batsmen to play their strokes and then more then enough turn towards the end of the game. You really cannot ask for anything more then that, well maybe except both teams actually trying to win the game but that is of course another story.

  • Gizza on November 14, 2010, 1:16 GMT

    Bhajji is overrated. Some of his fans commenting are using pointless statistics to defend him. The number of wickets a bowler gets (just like the total runs a batsman makes) doesn't tell you much. Courtney Walsh is fifth on the list of most wickets but Walsh is clearly not the fifth best bowler to have played the game. He is probably not even in the top five of West Indian fast bowlers. The average is much more important and his average is 31+ which is terrible even on flat pitches and jumps to 33+ excluding 2001 (remember when other spinners come they play against India's batsmen, Harbhajan bowls to non-Indian batsmen). Kumble was much better at home at least.

    And you can't say he got so many wickets in 2001 that is so old! You don't look to the past you look to the present. Hussey was batting very well 4 years ago but he is very close to being dropped now. He can't use his past form as an excuse. In most jobs if you don't perform properly NOW you get fired. Cricket is no different.

  • on November 14, 2010, 1:02 GMT

    @Rumi1 :please stop copy-pasting your comments on every article.....wasim jaffer !!! really?????kaif !!! they got their chance.....accept it .....its good that apart from the veterans the focus is on youngsters rather than the "once in a blue moon" performers

    and I dunno about you guyz but I pretty much believe that the guys in the centre(MSD and Kirsten) will make a better decision than any one of you even in their sleep!!!

  • cjscanada on November 13, 2010, 19:41 GMT

    Agree with Ashish. Even Murali could do nothing on flat pitches; check his average when he came to India. Ohja has bowled well in just one match. You need sporting pitches. Harbhajan is an aggresive bowler and improved batsman. He surely misses Anil, who created a lot of pressure on one side, which made Bhaji dangerous. Cricket is a team game and a lot of people start criticinzing based on failure of one or two test performance. Consider everything when you base comments. I don't think there is anyone better in Inida other than Bhaji. Also the other thing is when one is low on confidence, it is difficult to perform but class will prevail as a good cricketer will eventually work their way. We are lucky this is the best Indian team we have but to have better results we need sporting wickets for our fast bowlers or we will loose bowlers like Srisanth and Ishant as we have lost Irfan, RP and Munaf. It is difficult as everyone is not as intense as Zaheer.

  • on November 13, 2010, 19:38 GMT

    @Ashish: And perhaps the first bowler to get a hatrick for India in tests..He is much underrated..no one remembers that test match for his hatrick..but for Laxmans 281 vs Austraila..

  • on November 13, 2010, 19:37 GMT

    BhaJji, thats right. We need some bouncy and fast tracks so that our batsmen get accomodated to such kind of tracks. Also, a spinner who is considered to use slow tracks to take wickets must adapt to fast and bouncy pitches with some new techniques and innovative deliveries.

  • Meety on November 13, 2010, 19:28 GMT

    Any comments on Singhs send off of Ryder? Anyways a very good tussle here, NZ have certainly packed a surprisingly strong punch.

  • Rumy1 on November 13, 2010, 19:19 GMT

    Laxman is perhaps the best batsman in world right now. Gambhir must make way for Jaffer. It's time to get the country's best bat who is not in the team back into the team. Technically and temperamentally Jaffer is the most well equipped for No.2 position and is a much better option than Vijay in Tests. Dravid must retire now. He clearly is struggling these days. Time for him to bid adieu. Pujara must be brought back in. Raina must go. He is good for ODIs and T20s but doesn't have the technique or temperament for Tests. No, Yuvraj shouldn't replace Raina. Yuvraj has got enough Test chances and is good for ODIs & T20s like Raina. Rohit like Yuvraj doesn't merit a Test place either. Kaif deserves a Test chance provided Dhoni agrees. Kaif as a wounded tiger will grab the opportunity with both hands and could be a threat for MSD as a potential future Test captain. Else Badrinath merits a Test cap. Ishant needs to be brought back in the Test XI. He is a special talent. Ojha must be persisted

  • on November 13, 2010, 18:35 GMT

    For a while Harbhajan has been concentrating on his batting average rather than on bowling. He has been pretty toothless for quite some time. There was Anil Kumble who used to attack batsmen with his bowling prowess without complaining much about the pitches. Harbhajan should not be very happy with his performance because he did not trouble any front line batsmen. He could not trouble any of them. He always performs well when there is far better bowling going on the other end. Now Harbhajan is again safe for more 10 matches. I still wonder how come Murali chose Bhajji as a prospect who can break his records...Nice try..

  • ironlotus on November 13, 2010, 18:24 GMT

    People who criticize Harbhajan seriously need to introspect...this guy is still the best spinner in India, and gives his 100% everytime...you can clearly see his passion performing for his country.....moreover, he is more than handy batsman as well...and lastly, he is spot-on with his assessment regarding pitches....

  • Aashish_goyal on November 13, 2010, 18:20 GMT

    @Viper2.0 and @ klobania..He has almost 380 test wickets and close to 2000 runs at avg.17 in less than 90 tests..what u want him to do?...just think before commenting on such legends...Harbhajan is infact underrated what he has achieved.

  • on November 13, 2010, 18:09 GMT

    Harbhajan is right. Even Murali and Warne had a hard time taking wickets in India and it's only partly because of the expertise of the Indian batsmen. If the pitch is super slow, then the batsman has a long time to read the ball after it bounces. Pitches in India are bad for not only pacers but also spinners. And all he's asking for is a sporting pitch; he's not asking for a traditional Indian spinner's paradise.

    So I disagree with Viper 2.0. Harbhajan is a good spinner, not a great spinner, but India's best at this time. Perhaps Ashvin could be nurtured, though.

  • on November 13, 2010, 17:40 GMT

    but pitches which don't assist spin is tough .......pitch does play a role for the turn to come so yeah he's in bad form but not bad today

  • yuvi_nightrider on November 13, 2010, 17:11 GMT

    excellent performnce by bhajji he sould supposed to do that mor often

  • on November 13, 2010, 16:53 GMT

    well said CCI's is the best pitch in India for India

  • NeoTheSaviour on November 13, 2010, 16:47 GMT

    Well, fully Agree with Bhaji. Test cricket has threat from "Dead Pitches" far far more then anything else..

  • klobania on November 13, 2010, 16:47 GMT

    he only knows talking big n performs once in a blue moon. poor chap most over rated spinner in the world

  • Viper2.0 on November 13, 2010, 15:31 GMT

    What a dumb statement by harbajan.A good spin bowler can take wickets in any conditions.He should better concentrate more on his bowling than talk rubbish like this. He should take a leaf out of ohja's book and see how he bowled beautifully in the previous test match,which he claims is not a good wicket.The only match he bowled well was the match against SA(which was a rank turner) other than that he has nothing to boast off.I wonder what would have been his statement if he went wicket less in this match.

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  • Viper2.0 on November 13, 2010, 15:31 GMT

    What a dumb statement by harbajan.A good spin bowler can take wickets in any conditions.He should better concentrate more on his bowling than talk rubbish like this. He should take a leaf out of ohja's book and see how he bowled beautifully in the previous test match,which he claims is not a good wicket.The only match he bowled well was the match against SA(which was a rank turner) other than that he has nothing to boast off.I wonder what would have been his statement if he went wicket less in this match.

  • klobania on November 13, 2010, 16:47 GMT

    he only knows talking big n performs once in a blue moon. poor chap most over rated spinner in the world

  • NeoTheSaviour on November 13, 2010, 16:47 GMT

    Well, fully Agree with Bhaji. Test cricket has threat from "Dead Pitches" far far more then anything else..

  • on November 13, 2010, 16:53 GMT

    well said CCI's is the best pitch in India for India

  • yuvi_nightrider on November 13, 2010, 17:11 GMT

    excellent performnce by bhajji he sould supposed to do that mor often

  • on November 13, 2010, 17:40 GMT

    but pitches which don't assist spin is tough .......pitch does play a role for the turn to come so yeah he's in bad form but not bad today

  • on November 13, 2010, 18:09 GMT

    Harbhajan is right. Even Murali and Warne had a hard time taking wickets in India and it's only partly because of the expertise of the Indian batsmen. If the pitch is super slow, then the batsman has a long time to read the ball after it bounces. Pitches in India are bad for not only pacers but also spinners. And all he's asking for is a sporting pitch; he's not asking for a traditional Indian spinner's paradise.

    So I disagree with Viper 2.0. Harbhajan is a good spinner, not a great spinner, but India's best at this time. Perhaps Ashvin could be nurtured, though.

  • Aashish_goyal on November 13, 2010, 18:20 GMT

    @Viper2.0 and @ klobania..He has almost 380 test wickets and close to 2000 runs at avg.17 in less than 90 tests..what u want him to do?...just think before commenting on such legends...Harbhajan is infact underrated what he has achieved.

  • ironlotus on November 13, 2010, 18:24 GMT

    People who criticize Harbhajan seriously need to introspect...this guy is still the best spinner in India, and gives his 100% everytime...you can clearly see his passion performing for his country.....moreover, he is more than handy batsman as well...and lastly, he is spot-on with his assessment regarding pitches....

  • on November 13, 2010, 18:35 GMT

    For a while Harbhajan has been concentrating on his batting average rather than on bowling. He has been pretty toothless for quite some time. There was Anil Kumble who used to attack batsmen with his bowling prowess without complaining much about the pitches. Harbhajan should not be very happy with his performance because he did not trouble any front line batsmen. He could not trouble any of them. He always performs well when there is far better bowling going on the other end. Now Harbhajan is again safe for more 10 matches. I still wonder how come Murali chose Bhajji as a prospect who can break his records...Nice try..