Mumbai Indians v Deccan Chargers, Mumbai April 30, 2012

'Wankhede pitch not good for T20' - Harbhajan

ESPNcricinfo staff

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 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.

  • Akhil 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.

  • Vikram 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.

  • mo 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!

  • Kiran Kumar 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.

  • Nathan 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

  • giri 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

  • Deepak 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.

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

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

  • Satish 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!!

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