Harbhajan wants to improve his batting skill

Published: Wednesday, March 29, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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New Delhi:After Irfan Pathan, Harbhajan Singh might be the new allrounder in Team India ranks with the offie, who top scored with with 37 and then grabbed a career-best five for 31 to spin India to a 39-run win against England, saying he would like to see himself batting even better in the coming days.

Harbhajan's well-paced 37 helped India cross the 200-run mark and give some semblance of respectability to the Indian score after the top order failed again.

''I wanted to bat till the end and was talking to (M S) Dhoni that we have to rotate the strike and avoid playing our shots early.

As you can see from today's match, it really helps if the lower order contributes with the bat.'' ''We have been working on our batting, all the lower order batsmen, and I'm happy with the way I batted. I have been working hard on my batting and would like to keep improving as a batsman,'' Harbhajan, Man of the Match of yesterday's tie, told reporters after the match.

On his career-best haul, that came while defending a total as meagre as 203, Harbhajan said Yuvraj Singh bowling at the other end helped his cause.

''Yuvraj was keeping it tight at the other end and the pressure was building on England. It really helped.'' He also felt that playing sweep shots invited perils for the English batsmen, with three of the visiting batsmen perishing in the process.

''When you play the sweep shot, you are vulnerable to be leg before or bowled out as well if you misread the line,'' he said, advising the English batsmen to avoid the shot.

Asked if he had special plans for Andrew Flintoff, the offie said, ''Not really, I was concentrating one bowling in the right areas and maintaining a line and that did the trick. It was great to help the side win the series opener.'' Host captain Rahul Dravid said there was no magic mantra behind the win, rather a combination of factors resulted in the victory.

''Irfan Pathan took two wickets in the first over, (Gautam) Gambhir took three brilliant catches, (Mohd) Kaif took a wonderful catch, Yuvraj bowled well and then Harbhajan - its a combination of all.'' Dravid also refused to admit that the top order was not performing.

''I think we had two bad games in the last 16 matches where the top order failed, one in Kolkata against South Africa and this one. Two in 16 matches, I think that's not a bad return. I request you to be patient and give us chances,'' he said.

He also defended his out-of-form lieutenant Sehwag and said, ''Sehwag is a sort of player whom you always expect to score. He has won us matches in Pakistan and I'm hopeful that he will fire again.'' He, however, admitted that the team should have scored at least 240 runs in the match.

''Anyway, we will do well in the coming matches,'' he added.

Dejected English skipper Andrew Flintoff said, ''It was a terrible to get out for such a low score. But Harbhajan was exceptionally well today and playing sweep shots also did us in.'' ''Anyway, six matches to go and we will work hard to do better in the remainder of the series,'' he added.

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