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Harbhajan Singh, the Indian offspinner, has said that his relationship with Greg Chappell has improved considerably and has acknowledged the coach's role in India's recent success. During the hyped public spat between Chappell and Sourav Ganguly, Harhajan had openly accused India's coach of adopting double standards and instilling "fear and insecurity" among the national cricketers, but matters have taken a turn for the better.
"It took some time for me to get adjusted to a new coach. Today I enjoy playing under him [Chappell]," Harbhajan told the Press Trust of India. "He has great knowledge about the game and it has been a very successful year for us under him. He has lifted our team to great heights."
Harbhajan has struggled to regain the form that saw him collect 32 wickets in three Tests against Australia in 2001 while none of his team-mates managed more than three, but came back well in the one-dayers against England recently. He said it was his intent to pick up valuable tips from other contemporary spinners and apply it to his trade. "I am happy with what I have achieved so far in the last six years and I see another 10 years ahead of me," he said. "I have learned the most from Anil Kumble. I have got many wickets because Kumble has bowled very tightly from the other end."
There were special words for Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan as well. "Muralitharan is the finest offspinner. He can even turn on ice," Harbhajan said. "He has the revolution in the air which many bowlers do not have and that makes him a special bowler. Muralitharan's wrist is so supple that he can get those revolutions very well. My wrist is not like his and moreover he is a legend."
Recalling the occasions when he was reported for chucking, Harbhajan, who has 227 wickets in 55 Tests, said: "It was the toughest phase of my career. I consider that period as a bad dream. I am happy I have come out of it."
Harbhajan is part of the Test and one-day sides set to play five one-day internationals and four Tests against West Indies from May 12.