Karnataka v Rest of India, Irani Cup, 2nd day, Bangalore February 10, 2014

'Binny took the game away from us' - Harbhajan


Rest of India captain Harbhajan Singh praised Stuart Binny's attacking hundred on the second day of the Irani Cup, saying the Karnataka allrounder's ton took the match away from his team. Karnataka were 188 for 4 when Binny walked out and by the time he completed his hundred, Karnataka had taken a lead of 147 runs with six wickets to spare.

"A lot of credit must go to Stuart Binny," Harbhajan said. "The way he batted, he took the game away from us. Our seamers tried their best and it didn't happen, the way it happened for Karnataka. The ball did swing and did quite a lot when Karnataka was bowling yesterday and now the wicket is good [for batting]."

Three of the five ROI bowlers boast international experience, but Binny peppered the boundaries against all of them, dealing disdainfully with both pace and spin. Apart from giving credit to Binny, Harbhajan said that the wicket had "changed a lot" since yesterday, when ROI were bowled out for 201.

"The wicket has changed quite a lot from yesterday to today," Harbhajan said. "Yesterday it was quite damp, it was a double-paced wicket and today the ball was coming nicely to the bat. It did swing in the morning session and even in the afternoon when the ball had some shine on it. But once the ball was old, that's what probably Binny was looking for and he got the right scenario - the ball was old, the wicket was not doing much. He played good shots against the spinners and also with the new ball he played some cracking shots against the fast bowlers as well."

What came as a surprise was that Harbhajan brought himself into the attack only after 45 overs, by which time Karnataka had crossed 150 with the batsmen looking settled and no moisture left in the pitch. Harbhajan said he wanted to give maximum time to the pace bowlers, who were better suited to the conditions.

"We wanted to use the conditions," Harbhajan said. "We saw throughout the game the seamers bowled most of the overs and took wickets and when the ball was hard we wanted to use our seamers. The wicket had a lot for seamers but unfortunately we didn't get those many wickets.

"Whether I would have come early to bowl… there was hardly anything for spinners on this wicket. All you can do is bowl in the right areas and there's not much bounce on the wicket. That's what I was looking to do and I bowled pretty well and I'm quite happy with the way I bowled on this wicket apart from that one over before tea where I went for 13-14 runs."

Karnataka opener Ganesh Satish, who fell for 84, faced a spell from Harbhajan and Anureet Singh after lunch in which they pulled down the scoring rate. Harbhajan conceded only 14 runs in seven overs before removing Satish.

"At that time Harbhajan started bowling really well," Satish said. "He got his line and there were about two overs when I didn't get any runs. That period was a little difficult and I thought I'll play out that period for some time."

Satish, on the back of a hundred in the Ranji Trophy final, started confidently on the second morning, scoring freely despite accurate spells from Pankaj Singh and Ashok Dinda.

"I didn't really go after the attack as such," Satish said. "They bowled a little on the stumps today, so I could play a lot more. Yesterday I was trying to leave a lot more and it was swinging a lot more yesterday. Today, it didn't swing that much initially so when they were bowling on the stumps, I was trying to make use of it. I was trying not to play away from the body, I was trying to play as close as possible and with soft hands, so I think that helped."

Satish didn't look too pleased when he was given out caught behind off Harbhajan. But he only smiled on being asked about the umpire's decision and didn't say whether he thought it was a good decision or not.

"I can't say much about that," he said after the match.

Vishal Dikshit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on February 11, 2014, 10:52 GMT

    I strongly object to RajeshJ's remarks when he said Mishra failed against club standard players. It is an insult to Karnataka Batsmen who are talented and can easily match some of the top cricketers playing for Inida now. K L Rahul, Stuart Binny, Karun Nair, Ganesh Sathis and CM Gowtham can easily walk in to No.1 ir 2 team of India. Amit Mishra may prove a good leg spinner abroad as batsmen from foreign countries find it difficult to negotiate leg spin.He has also proved his calibre in the past. We should not ridicule any players without knowing their real talent.

  • Rajesh on February 11, 2014, 8:57 GMT

    @Cpt.Meanster: So Harbhajan has become a useless bowler. But why do you say that Mishra is being ignored to play for India.. Mishra too played in this game and has been blasted out by Ranji players.. At least Ashwin (in spite of not being given much chances abroad) is finding it difficult to take wickets in helpless pitches outside India.. But these guys are not even able to take wickets of club-level cricketers in Indian pitches.. Still there is a huge cry to include Mishra in tests/ODIs in SA and New Zealand.. Even worse is the case of Gambhir, who could not score decent runs in low and slow Indian tracks.. But still many want him back in team to play in pacy, bouncy, swinging conditions.. strange yardsticks...

  • Dummy4 on February 11, 2014, 7:12 GMT

    Guys!! Harbhajan will no longer play for India, thats a closed chapter. Ashwin too will last till Srini and Dhoni combine last. THe larger question that needs to be answered is: Do we have any finger spinner at all in domestic circuit, the guy who looks like taking wickets all the time.... THe fields set by Dhoni in all the test matches are for staggering the run flow and not taking wickets... A spinner should always look to take wickets, we lack the flight bowler ....... sad, but thats true and Dhoni is never a bowler's captain... he does not want spinners to flight the ball... he looks up to them to bowl fastish spinners, which can never be wicket taking instints. THe respective Boards should invest in Spinners and try and test them, I know karnataka cricket has a repository of spinners in the league, but they must be nourished to play the game for longer format rather than shorter format.

  • avaneesh on February 11, 2014, 5:52 GMT

    Strictly speaking, Binny did not just take away the game for ROI but he carried it in a flash out of ROI's eye sight. When Binny came to crease, the match was already slowly dripping away from Bajji. Binny played exactly the way situation demanded and ensured that it goes beyond the reach of Bajji. In fact along with he took away Bajji's confidence also. See, in 2 days Bajji already realized the game is long long away from him. Splendid game by Binny. An aggressive call to Dhoni also to use him properly next time when he is in the National team.

  • Dummy4 on February 11, 2014, 2:20 GMT

    Harbhajan is the worst captain ever. The guy's body language is so negative, it feels like he is been forcibly put on the field. I feel sorry for his teammates. I saw the same issues with his Punjab team and now. This team has already given up. If this is the best of the rest of India, no wonder we still have to Ishant and Zaheer in our national team. I think Rahul and Karun Nair will play for India, and Sharath too. Gopal also has the potential.

  • Gower on February 10, 2014, 22:15 GMT

    "Mishra and Ojha are being ignored for no apparent reasons. "

    The reason is very apparent to me. On pitches outside the sub continent that don't support spin, it makes no sense for a team with a young batting lineup that is still learning the ropes, to be shortened. Even with Jadeja in the lineup the batters are falling short. Also, the spinner you are asking to be replaced is Jadeja who basically took 3 wickets as a fielder. He is the only guy in the India setup who could take those 2 catches and do that run out.

  • SATISH CHANDER on February 10, 2014, 21:27 GMT

    @Raaki99...Are you joking? Dhoni will be continue as captain even if he loses Eng series 0 - 5 and then in Australia 0 - 4. As long as Srinivasan is there Dhoni (who is I think one of the board members on India Cements owned by Srinivasan's son-in-law), will continue. With Srinivasan set to become ICC chairman in Jul 2014, things can only getting rosier for Srinivasan-Dhoni combo. This is India and performance on the field does not matter but the set of INFLUENTIAL friends you have in the industry matter !

  • Rakesh on February 10, 2014, 20:29 GMT

    @Cpt.Meanster Dhoni's days are Numbered man, If he dosen't win the next test In NZ I doubt he will survive as a captain for the England series and if he does that Would be just a Miracle. He is now the captain who has lost the most mathces outside the subcontinent.I Have never liked him as a captain for Test matches. Now when it comes to One days and T20 he is still the best captain we have but for test matches No way. Coming back to Spinners the cup baord is really empty my friend. We don't have a decent spinner now in india forget the good ones.

  • Dummy4 on February 10, 2014, 18:47 GMT

    WOW! It is only Day-2 of the game and already saying 'Binny took the game away from us'

  • Jay on February 10, 2014, 17:29 GMT

    Harbhajan has become a useless bowler. When I first saw this guy rip apart the Aussies in 2001, I thought "Wow, India have finally found their next legendary spinner". But no, I was wrong. Bhajji's time with the national team is over officially following this performance. That doesn't mean Ashwin is set to play for India without hassle. Cause, Ashwin is also heading the same route with mediocre bowling performances both at home and overseas. So India's spin cupboard might seem bare but in actuality, it's not. Dhoni's attitude is the problem here as he fancies his CSK buddies over real talent. Mishra and Ojha are being ignored for no apparent reasons. Jharkhand spinner Shabhaz Nadeem is also a quality bowler. So we as a nation have some very good spin talent. But its Dhoni who is keeping them out.

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