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

Harbhajan happy with Hyderabad pitch

ESPNcricinfo staff

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 on November 14, 2010, 6:20 GMT

    @ it his fault to make flat pitches?...every bowler struggle on such pitches...and for ur information..check his recent 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...

  • Madhu 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.

  • Dummy4 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..

  • Dummy4 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.

  • Girik 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.

  • Dummy4 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!!!

  • Charles 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.

  • Dummy4 on November 13, 2010, 19:38 GMT

    @Ashish: And perhaps the first bowler to get a hatrick for India in tests..He is much one remembers that test match for his hatrick..but for Laxmans 281 vs Austraila..

  • Dummy4 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.

  • Andrew 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.

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