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Prajakta Pawar in Delhi

Dravid and Sachin are special: Harbhajan Singh

Off-spinner hopes young brigade of Rohit, Virat can fill legends’ shoes

Harbhajan Singh, aka the Turbanator, led the Mumbai Indians to the Champions League Twenty20 trophy in 2011, and in 2013 the off-spinner was the Man of the Match in the final against the Rajasthan Royals.

Although they had set the Rajasthan Royals a 203-run target, in the battle of David versus Goliath, the match was evenly placed till about the 16th over of the chase. But Harbhajan Singh struck in the 17th over to claim the key wickets of Ajinkya Rahane, Stuart Binny and Kevon Copper and tipped the balance in MI’s favour. The experienced campaigner took the game away from the Royals and finished with four for 32.

Among his other achievements, the spinner has over 400 Test scalps under his belt and has had the opportunity of playing alongside both Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid during his career. Speaking about the batting legends, who both bid farewell to T20 cricket in the same match, he told clt20.com, “They are special players for India. There will never be another Sachin Tendulkar or Rahul Dravid that will be produced for the next 10 years. Though we have got a lot of young talent coming up, like Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma who are brilliant players, but Sachin and Rahul are really special. If Rohit and Virat can fill those shoes, it will be great for India. If they can do it, nothing like it.”

Excerpts from Harbhajan Singh’s interview:

Did experience matter a lot in this game?

In a long run-chase, you have just got to keep believing that it is only a matter of one wicket. We had some half-chances but we could not convert them. One of the catches was dropped between Glenn Maxwell and myself, but we had to keep on believing. It was just a matter of one wicket. But honestly I did not see that ball coming from the light, but thankfully it got into my hands. After that Shane Watson’s wicket was crucial and the moment I took his wicket, we knew that the Rajasthan Royals will always be under pressure because the run-rate was increasing. That one over where I got three wickets was crucial, and thanks to God I kept my nerve and bowled that over tight for four runs and took three wickets. I am very happy.

What was the plan for Shane Watson who can be a game changer on his day?

You have to be smart. We all know that Shane Watson and Stuart Binny on their day can change the game from anywhere. They have been striking the ball really well throughout the Champions League T20. It was really satisfying to get the wickets of Watson and Binny.

How does it feel to have won the Indian Premier League and CLT20 in the same year?

Well, it is a great achievement and I would like to mention that all the boys have put in their more than 150 percent effort. With the grace of God we got the result we wanted. We have worked really hard and credit to Robin Singh who has worked really hard with the team. He has always been there and so has Jonty Rhodes. These two are the special guys who have worked really hard, and of course, having Anil Kumble as a senior in the side has always helped me as a spinner. We have a great team and a great support staff that helped us to do well as a team.

What are your thoughts on Rohit Sharma and his captaincy?

Rohit has been quite impressive in his captaincy. The best part about Rohit is that he has shown a lot of confidence in his bowlers. If as a captain you can show the faith in your bowlers, the batsmen and the team, it will take you a long way. He has done really well and I am sure he will continue to do well.

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