Players focused on game, says Harbhajan

Published: Wednesday, November 7, 2007, 19:18 [IST]
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A distracted India will try to keep their focus on the game as they go into the second one-day international against arch-rivals Pakistan, Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh said.

Selection matters are likely to weigh on the minds of the Indian players as the debate over who should be handed the Test captaincy gathered heat after record-breaking batsman Sachin Tendulkar refused the top job on Tuesday.

Indian selectors were to announce the new skipper as well as the team for the last three matches of the current series on the sidelines of the day-night game against their sub-continental rivals here on Thursday.

"There is nothing to worry (about) as far as players are concerned, selectors have a job to do and we will try our best to maintain our winning momentum," Harbhajan told reporters.

India took a 1-0 lead in the five-match series after winning the opener by a comfortable five-wicket margin. The teams will also play three Tests after the one-dayers.

Harbhajan refused to be drawn into the debate over whether the reins of the Test team should be handed to a youngster, a suggestion put forward by Tendulkar himself to the Indian cricket board.

"It does not matter who the captain is because whosoever is given the job his motive will be the same -- to win matches," Harbhajan, 27, said.

"Instead of losing sleep over the captaincy issue, we should take pride in the fact that we are part of the Indian team. We will try our best to keep our focus on the game."

Harbhajan though was full of praise for Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who has emerged as the top contender to lead the Test side, having already been made the skipper for Twenty20 and one-dayers.

"Dhoni is a very good captain, he backs each and every player. The best thing about Dhoni is that he takes other players into confidence before making any decision."

Besides Dhoni, veteran spinner Anil Kumble, batsman Venkatsai Laxman and former captain Sourav Ganguly were also believed to be in the running for the job, left vacant after Rahul Dravid unexpectedly quit the captaincy in September.

The Pakistani camp appeared bemused by the entire issue and was hoping to exploit the situation to its advantage.

"There was not much separating the two teams in Guwahati. We hope to make up for that difference with an improved show tomorrow," Pakistan coach Geoff Lawson said.

"It is always a little extra special when India and Pakistan play. We are lucky to have such a rivalry in sports," the Aussie said.

Lawson said it was good for the game that youngsters had been given charge of the one-day teams in both India and Pakistan.

"Both India and Pakistan have young captains at the helm in the one-dayers which is terrific for the game.

"Shoaib Malik is very sharp, he uses his players well. He has been captain in two Tests and seven one-dayers, he is a young guy and has a long way to go. Dhoni will also grow to be a good captain."

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