Dominica draw irks Harbhajan Singh

Published: Tuesday, July 12, 2011, 10:00 [IST]
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Dominica draw irks Harbhajan Singh

Roseau, July 12: Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni might be content with it but off-spinner Harbhajan Singh finds it incomprehensible that West Indies managed to force a draw in the third and final Test here.

"I took four but could have had six or seven. That''s fate," rued Harbhajan even as the two centurions, Kirk Edwards and Shivnarine Chanderpaul, acknowledged the perennial threat the off-spinner posed on a flat track.

Chanderpaul was twice dropped by Rahul Dravid in the slips and at least thrice Edwards popped chances to which the close-in cordon reacted late. India drew the final Test after deciding to abandon what looked like an exciting chase despite having seven wickets in hand to take the series 1-0

A little luck would have been in complete conformity with Harbhajan''s rising graph on foreign pitches. Starting 2009, Harbhajan took 16 wickets from three Tests in New Zealand with the best of 6-63 in Hamilton and an average of 21.38.

Last year, he had 7 for 120 at Newlands against a formidable South African batting line-up. In all, he finished with 15 wickets at 29.60 from three Tests.

For all his criticism in the Caribbean, his figures of 11 wickets at 25.36 in a seamer-dominated series isn''t bad. For critics, it''s his average of 37.40 plus in 44 Tests for a haul of 146 wickets on foreign pitches which proves he is only good on helpful Indian pitches.

There is also a hyped up confrontation between Harbhajan and Graeme Swann for their different yet highly successful bowling styles.

"I find it strange that it''s me who has to prove against all new off-spinners when it should be the other way around.

If lasting 13 years in international cricket was that easy, you would have had dozens and not a mere four spinners in the 400-plus list.

"Having said that, it would of interest to me to see how Swann turns up against our batting greats."

And how he himself would bowl to the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman?

"They all are different. Against Sachin, I would like to plug his run-scoring areas -- the whip through onside; the paddle sweep, the late cut he imparts against full pitched deliveries. Fields for Dravid and Laxman would also be different."

Harbhajan then casts his mind at the England venues where four Tests between the two teams would be played, starting July 21.

"Lord''s can be flat; and so could be Oval. The latter, if it helps spinners, could be a difficult venue for the batters because of the bounce in the pitch. Nottingham usually provides early nip. It could have something for the bowlers even on the last day. I haven''t played a Test in Edgbaston (Birmingham) yet."

India have lost four of their five Tests in Edgbaston.

However, they have won a Test each at Lord''s, Oval and Trent Bridge. Headingley is the only venue where India has won twice -- in 1986 and 2002.


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