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'We can be top for long time' - Harbhajan

ESPNcricinfo staff

October 15, 2010

Comments: 220 | Text size: A | A

Harbhajan Singh and Suresh Raina celebrate Simon Katich's wicket, India v Australia, 2nd Test, Bangalore, 4th day, October 12, 2010
Harbhajan Singh: "It has been a very satisfying series. We won 2-0. I took 11 wickets and am quite satisfied with my own performance" © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Harbhajan Singh
Teams: India

Harbhajan Singh has said that India have the potential to be No. 1 in Tests for an extended spell. India have been top of the table for 11 months, and have stretched their lead to 11 points over South Africa after the 2-0 series victory over Australia. Of their previous 10 Test series India have lost only one - in 2008, when Ajantha Mendis inspired Sri Lanka to a 2-1 win.

"We have the talent to be at the top of the table for a long time," Harbhajan told ESPNStar.com. "We have proven that in the last nine months and we were at the top because we have won lots of games both in India and abroad. If we can achieve that then why can't we be there for a long time?"

The Australia series was one in which Harbhajan managed to hit form after some lacklustre performances against Sri Lanka in July, where he wasn't fully fit. "It has been a very satisfying series. We won 2-0. I took 11 wickets and am quite satisfied with my own performance, but it could have been better."

One of the disappointments in the series for Harbhajan was his batting in the tight Mohali Test, where he lasted only three deliveries in two innings. "I was really upset. I have been working hard on my batting," he said. "In the second innings, I got out to the second ball. I was really angry with myself and that was the time we needed a partnership to win that game. I didn't remove my pads and was sitting with my pads on until India got the victory."

Harbhajan, who struggled with swine flu in Sri Lanka, said he had trouble with his shin in the lead-up to the Australia series. "I developed pain in my shin [while preparing for the Australia series]," he said. "My physio told me, 'if you keep on playing with it, you might develop stress fracture'. Shin is where you can't even have injection, but still I had to play, so I went ahead with pain killers and am really happy that I survived the two games."

India's next Test assignment is a home series against New Zealand after which lies a tough tour of South Africa, a country where they are yet to win a series. "South Africa in South Africa will be very challenging. The wickets and conditions are different there," Harbhajan said. "The boys are pretty confident; we have got the batting line-up to perform there, and a bowling outfit to take wickets there. We just need to have faith in our ability. If we can go on to win the series in South Africa, that will be a big achievement."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by hatrick26 on (October 22, 2010, 20:08 GMT)

@navs - Which part of "Rankings is relative" that you do not understand? SA lost a home series more recently than India lost one and point system are set up that way right now and India is playing more matches. It is not always that way (India playing more matches) and cyclic.Otherwise, SA is pretty good. Since you are already assuming/speculating that SL is gong to those countries (SA/Eng) and improve their record, so also is India who is touring SA this year and England next year.

Posted by SnowSnake on (October 22, 2010, 20:08 GMT)

Thanks, Kartik. You got what I said. It is funny navs84mom says SL #3 is not weak, but India's #1 is not justified because India is weak. Good going Navs84Mom.

Posted by Lion_of_Lanka on (October 22, 2010, 18:40 GMT)

@karthickfromindia "so, why dont you reach no1 by beating the same teams?" because karthick unlike BCCI SLC is not a financial powerhouse (as you pointed out) we do not get to tour any country we wish. Our next test series is against WI @ home and then after the WC we'll be touring SA, AUS & ENG after a very very long time. "long as we have enough average bowlers who can take 20 wkts to win a match" We saw how your average bowlers managed to bowl out SL in only 1 match out of the 3 played."did u check india's test record since 2001" Yeah, 0 test series wins in SL, AUS, SA while lots of wins in India. funny SL is the same - 0 wins in IND, AUS, SA while a lot of wins in SL. So maybe India is not better than SL after all. '3 is weak because in maths 3 comes after 1" Actually people with common sense consider 3rd place to be a good position. Plus India is yet to prove why they're no.1

Posted by karthikfromchennai on (October 22, 2010, 16:24 GMT)

3 is weak because in maths 3 comes after 1...still, you cant say anything abt NOT EVEN ONE SINGLE IN INDIA...is that not a shame to SL cricket?....In last SL tour to India- we won by an Innings twice....Last Ind tour to SL we levelled 1-1....who is the boss? also, you said...rem if u have memory, Ind reached no 1 by beating Bangla and NZ....so, why dont you reach no1 by beating the same teams? we dont need all rounders/lightening fast bowlers as long as we have enough average bowlers who can take 20 wkts to win a match..our bowlers have been doing a decent job....did u check india's test record since 2001....compare with all other test playing nations...and you will understand why ind is no1. you talk of only india's losses in few matches...open your eyes and find out how many wins we have. end of talks. bye.

Posted by Lion_of_Lanka on (October 22, 2010, 12:14 GMT)

continued...@Snowsnake: "Let's give nav84smom #1 rank for trying to defend SL for its weak ranking" Okay so YOU agree with ICC test rankings and according to ICC test rankings SL is 3rd. How in the world can that be a weak ranking? In maths 3 comes before 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10...Okay? It's not that hard to understand that or is it?

Posted by Lion_of_Lanka on (October 22, 2010, 12:10 GMT)

What? Even Snowsnake cannot comprehend what I wrote. I said SA is the no.1 team not SL. SA- South Africa get it? "Keep the pressure on the Indian players to perform" yeah, how is burning effigies gonna help them? Agreed Mathews may not be a worldclass allrounder YET, but he is what you call a genuine allrounder (can bat & bowl equally well - Just ask Athul someone who is an Indian btw) Perera is another - you Indians know it right? As for test performance, what about Sakib? He is the best allrounder in world cricket right now? IND lacks a GENUINE allrounder and while Irfan was the closest into being an allrounder. Yuvraj is a batsman who bowls part time. As for bringing up ODI and T20, it is you people who bought out those performances 1st so I had to point out India's shaky record. Sorry but in tests SA>SL. But in the 2011 world cup, we may very well see an India-SL final since the home conditions support us and PAK is in turmoil (hope they resolve it soon) Just watch cricket not BCCI

Posted by Amol_Ind_SA on (October 22, 2010, 11:12 GMT)

As an Indian, I would say that I agree about one point with this particular frenetic guy that SA is better than IND (at least I personally feel that way). But Mr. Frenetic should understand that his comments would be valid ***ONLY*** after SRL has the b**ls to win EVEN ONE TEST here in IND where they play almost every year. I'm not even talking about their pathetic record in SA-AUS where SRL get a raw deal both from the ICC FTP and those two teams. T20s don't count for me. And finally, there is a difference between a genuine All-Rounder like Kallis, Watson, Cairns and simply a ***Utility*** player like those so-called three(?) from SRL team. The term 'All-Rounder' is not a term to be tossed around casually in comments. Not all teams have them. Even the last time IND had a genuine All-Rounder was Kapil Dev and that was decades ago. So SRL having three theoretically means that they should win all games from now on. Even Without Murali.

Posted by ikey on (October 22, 2010, 6:02 GMT)

@navs : I agree some of the comments made here are overboard but these are bound to happen in an heated argument like this dont take it to heart man..see its simple..u love ur team for what it is and we do the same..no one wants to hear someone belittling or mocking their teams..rank 1 is up for grabs always it is not freezed r something if any team plays better than India they r bound to get it.so let peace prevail here and enjoy cricket :)

Posted by SnowSnake on (October 21, 2010, 23:37 GMT)

Let's give nav84smom #1 rank for trying to defend SL for its weak ranking. It appears nothing seems to matter. According to him SL is #1-- the best team that has every played cricket in any format of the game :). As for Indian fans, whatever you are doing appears to be working. Keep the pressure on the Indian players to perform. Focus more on Dhoni because he is not delivering. His problems are hidden due to India's number 1 ranking in tests. I would rather have Dravid come back in the world cup team as a part time wicket keeper than have Dhoni play.

Posted by karthikfromchennai on (October 21, 2010, 19:27 GMT)

PERFORMANCES IN T20s and ODIs DONT COUNT FOR TEST RANKINGS...hope you are enough educated to understand wht I mean

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