Harbhajan Singh, who took 21 wickets in the three Tests he played against Australia, has reacted angrily to Mark Waugh's criticism of Sourav Ganguly, and the Wankhede Stadium pitch where Australia were bowled out for just 93 in a low-scoring thriller.
Waugh had suggested that it was perhaps time for India to contemplate a change at the helm after Ganguly had expressed his dismay over the surface prepared for the Test match in Nagpur. Press Trust of India quoted Harbhajan as saying, "I would say Mark should keep his suggestion to himself. Ganguly has been around for nearly 10 years and played 75 Tests, besides nearing 10,000 runs in one-day cricket. He knows the game as well as he [Waugh] does."
According to Waugh, India would struggle in Tests abroad with Ganguly's approach, and Harbhajan took strong exception to that. "I thought it was the Australians who were complaining about the Mumbai pitch," he said. "It is they who need to get on with the game.
"Incidentally, let me remind him we have not won matches only at home in the last few years. We beat West Indies in West Indies, England in England, Pakistan in Pakistan, Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka and even Australia in Australia. I don't think we won there because we had friendly curators."
The match in Mumbai lasted a little over two days in terms of playing time, but Harbhajan reckoned that Aussie complaints were merely a case of grapes turned sour. "I wonder if they would have still whined had Australia, and not India, won the Mumbai Test," he said. "When we go to Australia, we never complain about the Perth pitch. Or if we are in England, we don't cry from the rooftop about the grassy and seaming conditions. So why now this outcry?"
According to him, the pitch played as it usually does. "It has always been the case in Mumbai," he said. "Why, I remember when we played a one-dayer against Australia on their last visit, we couldn't chase 240 batting second because it spun big-time. We never complained about the quality of the pitch then."
Harbhajan pointed to the superb batting of Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman on the third morning, and suggested that Australia's disastrous batting display while chasing 107 owed more to poor batting technique than devils in the pitch. "Indeed, I would say Jason Gillespie showed marvellous defensive technique and had begun to frustrate us," he said. "I would say his methods were far better than some of the top order Australian batsmen."