Mumbai Indians v Deccan Chargers, Mumbai April 30, 2012

'Wankhede pitch not good for T20' - Harbhajan

ESPNcricinfo staff
28

Harbhajan Singh, the Mumbai Indians captain, has criticised the Wankhede Stadium pitch for the game against Deccan Chargers on Sunday, saying it was not ideal for Twenty20 cricket. The grassy pitch offered plenty of seam movement and the batsmen from both sides struggled. Chargers set a paltry target of 101, which Mumbai chased down in 18.1 overs with five wickets in hand.

"This was a different wicket from what we have played at the Wankhede," Harbhajan said. "Not good for Twenty20 cricket. I came today and saw the pitch and said 'wow what to expect here', we never know what to expect from this track ever. From next time, I think we have to ensure we know what kind of wicket we are going to play."

Chargers captain Cameron White too agreed with Harbhajan, saying it was "probably not an ideal T20 wicket", but admitted that Mumbai played better.

White had captained the team in place of Kumar Sangakkara, who sat out. White said the decision was taken by Sangakkara and the coach Darren Lehmann, in the best interests of the team combination. Sangakkara has been struggling for form this season, scoring 83 runs in five innings. White, though, praised Sangakkara for his selflessness.

"Darren Lehmann and Kumar were discussing it (the combination) and decided to pick the best combination for this wicket," White said. "Very selfless thing for Kumar to do. It's unusual to change the captain when you get to the ground. It backfired now but on other occasions it might work."

White said he and the rest of the batsmen should take the blame for the defeat. "We failed to bat out our overs, we still had eight balls to face. At the end of the day you're not going to win too many T20 games when you score 101.

"The way our team make-up is, we probably need three overseas batsmen. I don't think we have the luxury of doing that because our local batters aren't strong at the moment."

Dale Steyn bowled a hostile spell for the Chargers, bowling Richard Levi first ball and beat the bat on several occasions. He finished with figures of 4-0-10-2 but the support bowlers weren't good enough to sustain the Chargers. Rohit Sharma had several close calls against Steyn but the batsman carried the chase with 42, before falling 26 short of the target. White was full of praise for Rohit.

"Rohit Sharma I believe is one of the best players in the world. I find it very hard to believe he's not playing for India in all three formats," White said. "He's just class and Dale was able to get it past the outside edge and it was a great contest."

Edited by Kanishkaa Balachandran

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • deepak_sholapurkar on May 1, 2012, 9:18 GMT

    Harbhajan is not getting wickets in IPL and Sachin Is not scoring runs. MI should be ready with two replacements. When out of form these guys will sit out in the name of Injury.

  • AnoMaLy on April 30, 2012, 21:05 GMT

    Bhajji should retire or should just be dropped from all forms period. Such a disgrace to cricket and doesn't help the Indian brand in any way. No wonder India struggles abroad with such mentality - players wanting dry flat pitches.

  • xylo on April 30, 2012, 16:23 GMT

    When Harbhajan Singh manages to get not one wicket, but two, you know something is definitely wrong with the pitch.

  • moBlue on April 30, 2012, 15:16 GMT

    @ ABjuventus: not so fast, my friend. rohit sharma had many chances [in ODIs] and blew it time after time. his temperament is still in question... which is why i found it galling - and i still do! - that people like you wanted *him* to replace the formidable VVS in tests in australia! as far as i am concerned, rohit sharma can't hold a bat yet in test match cricket against the likes of dale steyn, let alone replace VVS! yes, he will get his chance, and if he proves he has grown up and has developed some temperament, then that would be different. i like kohli precisely because the guy is a fighter, and is mentally strong, and is self-confident. rohit has quit too easily! haven't you noticed? don't give me his 20-20 exploits in india! they don't mean much! right now, kohli and pujara are light-years ahead of rohit sharma, based on the *combination* of talent and temperament, which is what is needed for success in test cricket, not just mercurial batting once in a blue moon!

  • samudralakiku on April 30, 2012, 14:21 GMT

    No wonder Bhajji took 2 wickets. If not for the grass, that would not have been possible. Bhajji should be thankful to the pitch instead of criticizing.

  • bvnathan on April 30, 2012, 14:09 GMT

    WOW Steyn!! What a demonstration of PACE bowling by Steyn on such conditions... ever wonder if the video of the match (and the one against MI earloer in IPL @Vizag) can be shown to the INDIA FAST bowling prospects to learn the art of FAST bowling. This means that Indian curators can definitely prepare pitches in India conditions that can test the best of the best, even during the domestic season. This can be rewarding to both the aspiring batsmen and bowlers to the INDIA TEAM. WHAT IF such ptiches are prepared prior to any overseas seris (ENG, SA, AUS ... etc) and make the INDIA team practice on the same for about 2 weeks. This will not only assist both the batsmen and bowlers to adapt but also excel in overseas conditions. @torsha ... a valid point from your end. Thanks

  • Angry_Bowler on April 30, 2012, 14:09 GMT

    Kohli: 85 ODIs, 50.56 Ave, 11 - 100s, 21 - 50s, 3590 runs Rohit: 80 ODIs, 50.56 Ave, 2 - 100s, 12 - 50s, 1961 runs Who is best? If records are not proof, then Sachin is not a great player either. But it is too early to compare though. Lets see where they will stand after 200 ODIs

  • DeepakB on April 30, 2012, 13:21 GMT

    A fantastic pitch... this is what is exciting and the best team to adapt wins. I would like to see Sehwag and Gale play on these pitches. If they score more than 25 at a strike rate of above 100, then they are world class cricketers. On a flat pitch, even Harbhajan can whack a few.

  • Advanced_Donkeys on April 30, 2012, 12:59 GMT

    would you say the same,had you won that game mr Bhajji?

  • satish619chandar on April 30, 2012, 12:29 GMT

    Yes Rohit is a good player but not one of the best in the world.. Certainly he never did any justice to his game and i think particularly in this game, he was very lucky to survive and score.. Just a lucky innings.. You obviously need luck in these conditions but the way he played at the balls outside off were just too limp.. Beaten 7 times in 9 balls will be usually associated with tail!!

  • deepak_sholapurkar on May 1, 2012, 9:18 GMT

    Harbhajan is not getting wickets in IPL and Sachin Is not scoring runs. MI should be ready with two replacements. When out of form these guys will sit out in the name of Injury.

  • AnoMaLy on April 30, 2012, 21:05 GMT

    Bhajji should retire or should just be dropped from all forms period. Such a disgrace to cricket and doesn't help the Indian brand in any way. No wonder India struggles abroad with such mentality - players wanting dry flat pitches.

  • xylo on April 30, 2012, 16:23 GMT

    When Harbhajan Singh manages to get not one wicket, but two, you know something is definitely wrong with the pitch.

  • moBlue on April 30, 2012, 15:16 GMT

    @ ABjuventus: not so fast, my friend. rohit sharma had many chances [in ODIs] and blew it time after time. his temperament is still in question... which is why i found it galling - and i still do! - that people like you wanted *him* to replace the formidable VVS in tests in australia! as far as i am concerned, rohit sharma can't hold a bat yet in test match cricket against the likes of dale steyn, let alone replace VVS! yes, he will get his chance, and if he proves he has grown up and has developed some temperament, then that would be different. i like kohli precisely because the guy is a fighter, and is mentally strong, and is self-confident. rohit has quit too easily! haven't you noticed? don't give me his 20-20 exploits in india! they don't mean much! right now, kohli and pujara are light-years ahead of rohit sharma, based on the *combination* of talent and temperament, which is what is needed for success in test cricket, not just mercurial batting once in a blue moon!

  • samudralakiku on April 30, 2012, 14:21 GMT

    No wonder Bhajji took 2 wickets. If not for the grass, that would not have been possible. Bhajji should be thankful to the pitch instead of criticizing.

  • bvnathan on April 30, 2012, 14:09 GMT

    WOW Steyn!! What a demonstration of PACE bowling by Steyn on such conditions... ever wonder if the video of the match (and the one against MI earloer in IPL @Vizag) can be shown to the INDIA FAST bowling prospects to learn the art of FAST bowling. This means that Indian curators can definitely prepare pitches in India conditions that can test the best of the best, even during the domestic season. This can be rewarding to both the aspiring batsmen and bowlers to the INDIA TEAM. WHAT IF such ptiches are prepared prior to any overseas seris (ENG, SA, AUS ... etc) and make the INDIA team practice on the same for about 2 weeks. This will not only assist both the batsmen and bowlers to adapt but also excel in overseas conditions. @torsha ... a valid point from your end. Thanks

  • Angry_Bowler on April 30, 2012, 14:09 GMT

    Kohli: 85 ODIs, 50.56 Ave, 11 - 100s, 21 - 50s, 3590 runs Rohit: 80 ODIs, 50.56 Ave, 2 - 100s, 12 - 50s, 1961 runs Who is best? If records are not proof, then Sachin is not a great player either. But it is too early to compare though. Lets see where they will stand after 200 ODIs

  • DeepakB on April 30, 2012, 13:21 GMT

    A fantastic pitch... this is what is exciting and the best team to adapt wins. I would like to see Sehwag and Gale play on these pitches. If they score more than 25 at a strike rate of above 100, then they are world class cricketers. On a flat pitch, even Harbhajan can whack a few.

  • Advanced_Donkeys on April 30, 2012, 12:59 GMT

    would you say the same,had you won that game mr Bhajji?

  • satish619chandar on April 30, 2012, 12:29 GMT

    Yes Rohit is a good player but not one of the best in the world.. Certainly he never did any justice to his game and i think particularly in this game, he was very lucky to survive and score.. Just a lucky innings.. You obviously need luck in these conditions but the way he played at the balls outside off were just too limp.. Beaten 7 times in 9 balls will be usually associated with tail!!

  • torsha on April 30, 2012, 12:08 GMT

    May be he is right. For T20, this pitch is useless. I think this green pitch should be made on domestic level competition first and then probably for the test matches and ODIs. This will help them in seaming conditions away from home. India is the only country which have every kind of pitches. I heard on commentary when McMillan said that this pitch reminds him of Wellington.

  • satish619chandar on April 30, 2012, 11:55 GMT

    If not for this track and bounce this track offered, Bhajji would have ended the IPL-5 with a solitary wicket and sent to cleaners easily.. He should actually Thank the curator instead of busting out this nonsense..

  • RavishankarS on April 30, 2012, 11:44 GMT

    @Ram Purandhar: Please don make such huge jokes by saying Sanga as sportive.. I just can't stop laughing. He is just one among the "Sportive" ppl who asked randiv to bowl a No-Ball....

  • ABjuventus on April 30, 2012, 11:27 GMT

    Those who are against Rohit ...must know that despite all these adversities he atys there beacause the pitch is difficult so everybody needs to maintain his focus ...he does that in the match , i am damn sure if kohli was in place of rohit in this match or pitch ..he would have struggled a lot more than rohit and he would have been out way before , so if someone is saying rohit is good and one of the world best at the momenrt , u must realised why they are saying so , it is not about the centuries and attacking strokes that matter ( In reference to KOHLI ) who you all think is better than rohit ...it is the runs which came at a difficult time that matters ... actually i beleive both of them is highly talented but i always prefer rohit lil. more than kohli , and yes for the non believers why the hell in this world from sachin to warne to gilchrist to steve waugh praise this man ..U ALL MUST THINK

  • on April 30, 2012, 11:14 GMT

    Not an ideal wicket for T20?. Hats off to curator for preparing such a pitch. Otherwise, we would not have witnessed one of the best t20 bowling spells from Dale Steyn. A cracker of a spell. Had they prepared a batsmen-friendly wicket, HS figures would have read something like 4-0-40-0 as well.

  • on April 30, 2012, 11:12 GMT

    It was a great wicket to see a close low scoring finish. I can't understand the logic of sanga sitting out on a wicket like this. Any other flat track I would have understood because he does not score as fast as most other top class players. He should have played this game because this is a wicket he could have taken his time and built an innings on. Hmmm I fear he might have done it show its not his captaincy that is the problem but the team itself. Anyway if Sanga stayed out to get the right combination they should have played Thearon to support steyn that would have given them a good chance of winning.

  • Jayco on April 30, 2012, 10:53 GMT

    How on earth do they come to the conclusion that Sanga is not part of "the best combination for this wicket"? Seriously, a proven champion batsman, not part of the best combination for a tricky pitch? Madness.

  • c3vzn on April 30, 2012, 10:49 GMT

    I agree re: the rohit conspiracy. Most innings he plays are full of mishits and wierd chips, he looks effortless and nice but Kohli is a much better player. Rahane also looks a lot better.

  • Romenevans on April 30, 2012, 10:39 GMT

    """"""""" Rohit Sharma I believe is one of the best players in the world. I find it very hard to believe he's not playing for India in all three formats," White said."""""""" What is going in cricketing world? WHy they all are praising Rohit? Is this a conspiracy lol? I mean this guy has hardly done anything, still the whole world thing he is the big thing? This is unbelievable.

  • on April 30, 2012, 10:13 GMT

    A captain is supposed to lead from the front. Take those blows Sanga and your form shall return

  • Windies2Dheart on April 30, 2012, 10:04 GMT

    Id say Bhaji is the problem, not the pitch. Isnt t20 a type of cricket? Why shouldnt there be proper pitches where batsmen have to play proper shots to get their runs. There's no rule that says that a t20 match must have 190 runs to be exciting. Its funny how IPL t20 is a 'batsman's game' so they sacrifice everything- even the pitch to see every ball fly over the boundary.

  • on April 30, 2012, 10:01 GMT

    mr.praveen sanga did not lie to dhoni.if he told dat he won d toss,fools wud blame dat he took it for granted.so though sanga won d toss first time,he wanted to go for a second time to make it more transparent for fools.but double fools never understand dat.we shud appreciate his decision to sit off for d match against mumbai.ipl does not matter to him at all.sanga did not retire unable to take challenges.he wanted a new captain to be bred by 2017 world cup.in t20 worst thing happens.mainly in ipl.good shots donot fetch runs.worst balls provide wickets.it is no use if harbhajan gets wickets,wen he cannot serve his national team anymore.sanga is more sportive in dis regard.cheers...

  • sachin_vvsfan on April 30, 2012, 9:20 GMT

    @praveen4honestremark LOL " Accepting challenge is nature of real sports man. Harbhajan is great in this regard. 4-0-13-2 his bowling stats, this is called taking up challenge" Where was his challenging nature in previous matches. And dont forget this match he got an indian rookie who tried to hit anywhere and had a hurried dhawan stumped.Still if you include his over all stats its only 3 wickets with about 9 runs per over. Wrong comparsion mate.

  • sandy_bangalore on April 30, 2012, 9:08 GMT

    Harbhajan needs dusty track to take some wickets, and the two he got today were off ordinary deliveries. We all know the reason why this 'spent force' is the captain of the team

  • rsurya on April 30, 2012, 8:56 GMT

    This green pitch should be prepared for ranji match where our domestic batsmans score triple 100's at ease. They should get practiced on these kind of pitches to win matches abroad. For IPL this is useless. The team wins the toss wins the game.

  • DibblyDobbler2 on April 30, 2012, 8:31 GMT

    So we can get a seaming wicket in India ....how about making them a bit more lilke this one when playing longer matches ...it will improve the batsmen's techinque ...a bit more pace and some bounce would also help ....to encourage the fast bowlers ....

  • on April 30, 2012, 7:53 GMT

    harbhajan not good for any form of cricket.........

  • praveen4honestremark on April 30, 2012, 7:15 GMT

    The funniest remark or comment i could hear till date is White backing Sangakkara , saying his decision to drop himself as selfless. And some news papers mentioning that "Sangakkara did better than Harbhajan, still he drops himself" and starts lauding Sangakkara. First talking on White's comments, Mr .White you are wrong in backing him. When he failed and feels he can't take challenges he drops himself from team or captaincy. After WC 2011 he resigned as captain because he fears of challenges of making a team good. And now after failing as a batsman in IPL-V instead of taking it as challenge he dropped himself. I say it is biggest shame to drop yourself when there is no better replacement , better he would have improved his game or changed his batting position. Accepting challenge is nature of real sports man. Harbhajan is great in this regard. 4-0-13-2 his bowling stats, this is called taking up challenge. And we all know how Sanga lied to Dhoni etal during toss in WC 2011 final.

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  • praveen4honestremark on April 30, 2012, 7:15 GMT

    The funniest remark or comment i could hear till date is White backing Sangakkara , saying his decision to drop himself as selfless. And some news papers mentioning that "Sangakkara did better than Harbhajan, still he drops himself" and starts lauding Sangakkara. First talking on White's comments, Mr .White you are wrong in backing him. When he failed and feels he can't take challenges he drops himself from team or captaincy. After WC 2011 he resigned as captain because he fears of challenges of making a team good. And now after failing as a batsman in IPL-V instead of taking it as challenge he dropped himself. I say it is biggest shame to drop yourself when there is no better replacement , better he would have improved his game or changed his batting position. Accepting challenge is nature of real sports man. Harbhajan is great in this regard. 4-0-13-2 his bowling stats, this is called taking up challenge. And we all know how Sanga lied to Dhoni etal during toss in WC 2011 final.

  • on April 30, 2012, 7:53 GMT

    harbhajan not good for any form of cricket.........

  • DibblyDobbler2 on April 30, 2012, 8:31 GMT

    So we can get a seaming wicket in India ....how about making them a bit more lilke this one when playing longer matches ...it will improve the batsmen's techinque ...a bit more pace and some bounce would also help ....to encourage the fast bowlers ....

  • rsurya on April 30, 2012, 8:56 GMT

    This green pitch should be prepared for ranji match where our domestic batsmans score triple 100's at ease. They should get practiced on these kind of pitches to win matches abroad. For IPL this is useless. The team wins the toss wins the game.

  • sandy_bangalore on April 30, 2012, 9:08 GMT

    Harbhajan needs dusty track to take some wickets, and the two he got today were off ordinary deliveries. We all know the reason why this 'spent force' is the captain of the team

  • sachin_vvsfan on April 30, 2012, 9:20 GMT

    @praveen4honestremark LOL " Accepting challenge is nature of real sports man. Harbhajan is great in this regard. 4-0-13-2 his bowling stats, this is called taking up challenge" Where was his challenging nature in previous matches. And dont forget this match he got an indian rookie who tried to hit anywhere and had a hurried dhawan stumped.Still if you include his over all stats its only 3 wickets with about 9 runs per over. Wrong comparsion mate.

  • on April 30, 2012, 10:01 GMT

    mr.praveen sanga did not lie to dhoni.if he told dat he won d toss,fools wud blame dat he took it for granted.so though sanga won d toss first time,he wanted to go for a second time to make it more transparent for fools.but double fools never understand dat.we shud appreciate his decision to sit off for d match against mumbai.ipl does not matter to him at all.sanga did not retire unable to take challenges.he wanted a new captain to be bred by 2017 world cup.in t20 worst thing happens.mainly in ipl.good shots donot fetch runs.worst balls provide wickets.it is no use if harbhajan gets wickets,wen he cannot serve his national team anymore.sanga is more sportive in dis regard.cheers...

  • Windies2Dheart on April 30, 2012, 10:04 GMT

    Id say Bhaji is the problem, not the pitch. Isnt t20 a type of cricket? Why shouldnt there be proper pitches where batsmen have to play proper shots to get their runs. There's no rule that says that a t20 match must have 190 runs to be exciting. Its funny how IPL t20 is a 'batsman's game' so they sacrifice everything- even the pitch to see every ball fly over the boundary.

  • on April 30, 2012, 10:13 GMT

    A captain is supposed to lead from the front. Take those blows Sanga and your form shall return

  • Romenevans on April 30, 2012, 10:39 GMT

    """"""""" Rohit Sharma I believe is one of the best players in the world. I find it very hard to believe he's not playing for India in all three formats," White said."""""""" What is going in cricketing world? WHy they all are praising Rohit? Is this a conspiracy lol? I mean this guy has hardly done anything, still the whole world thing he is the big thing? This is unbelievable.