Chennai, Sept 23: Harbhajan Singh said he has matured as a leader compared to his short stint in the IPL's first edition as the feisty off-spinner gets ready to lead Mumbai Indians in the Champions League Twenty20 in the absence of their regular captain Sachin Tendulkar.
Sans Tendulkar and some other key players, a depleted Mumbai Indians will face title-holders Chennai Super Kings in their tough lung-opener of the Champions League Twenty20 on Saturday.
"To be honest, it's a great opportunity for me to lead Mumbai Indians. This is similar to the first edition of the Indian Premier League when Tendulkar was not available. But I am matured now. Obviously, I did not have much experience before that in leading a side," said Harbhajan.
"I have learnt a lot during the last three to four years. Definitely, this is an opportunity and I will try to put my best foot forward. Since there have been lot of injuries to our players, we will try our best to put up some good performances with the available resources," he added.
Harbhajan led the Mumbai Indians in the first edition of the IPL when Tendulkar was injured and could not play for the side. However, his stint at the top ended in a controversy when he had slapped the Kings XI Punjab's fast bowler S Sreesanth, for which he was banned by the IPL committee for the rest of the games in the tournament.
The wily off-spinner said he would be taking advice from the seniors in the team including Andrew Symonds, Kieron Pollard and Lasith Malinga.
"When it comes to leading a side, a lot of situations are to be addressed. Depending upon the circumstances, you need to take a call including advice from the senior guys around in your team. I will be looking for such support from Symonds, Pollard and Malinga. It (captaincy) is an added responsibility and I am looking forward to it," said the 31-year-old.
Mumbai have been allowed five foreign players instead of the stipulated four due to the injury crisis in the team and Harbhajan said, "I do not know whether playing five foreigners is an added or unfair advantage but I am not the one who makes and dictates rules. This has been done by the concerned authorities. It is nice to have experienced guys around. That is all I can say on this."
Apart from Tendulkar, who is nursing a toe injury, Mumbai will also be without Rohit Sharma, Suryakumar Yadav, Ali Murtaza, Munaf Patel and Dhawal Kulkarni.
Harbhajan said Mumbai is focussed on approaching the tournament one match at a time.
"We are going to take one game at a time. We know that Chennai Super Kings are a very strong side. They have won IPL twice and Champions League as well and they have got quality players in their side including Dhoni, Raina, Hussey.
"In the bowling department, they have got Bollinger, Ashwin, Morkel and others. They have done well as a team. This is a great opportunity for all of us in Mumbai Indians to take the responsibility and put up a fight against them," he said.
Talking about his recovery from the injury, Harbhajan said it was frustrating to have been injured and missing the matches.
"I have recovered fully. It was frustrating sitting out and watching lot of games on television. It is not good when you are injured. I wanted to be in England and part of the ODI side because we did not have too many senior guys there.
Sometimes, the results do not show what kind of cricket we have played but obviously it was one of the disappointing tours for us.
"There were lot of injuries and lot of seniors were not there. Hopefully, things will change and we soon regain our top position in the ranking," he added.