Harbhajan Singh ‘Marshalls’ domestic pacers.
What he said:
“But we shouldn’t leave so much grass where even a 120-kph bowler appears like Malcolm Marshall.”
Indian team discard and off-spinner Harbhajan Singh is critical of the BCCI policy to provide green-top wickets for the ongoing Ranji trophy.
“Our wickets make such bowlers look unplayable. Some of these bowlers end up picking 50 wickets in a season. So you can’t ignore them. When such a bowler is picked for international cricket, he gets exposed while bowling on a slightly drier surface. The ball doesn’t reach the batsman.”
“I feel the wicket should offer help to pacers on the first morning but it shouldn’t get bowlers into a mindset that ‘waah, toss jeet gaye, ab toh mera hi din hai [wow, we have won the toss. Now it is my day]’. There should be help for bowlers but if a batsman applies himself he should also be able to score big. And on the fourth-fifth days, spinners should come into play.
Play on a sporting wicket but don’t play on a wicket where ordinary bowlers are made to look terrorizing. It doesn’t help. We are not taking the game anywhere. You are giving fake confidence to bowlers. Anybody can bowl on such wickets. It is like on a rank turner, anybody can take wickets. Similarly, any seamer who can swing the ball a bit and bowls a good line and length will do well on such tops. But to make it challenging, you have to make the conditions change just like it happens in Test cricket.”
What he really meant:
“It was alright when we had spinning wickets on the first day for home Tests, and we spinners could corner all the wickets. The fast bowlers would just take the shine off the ball. But this means the boot is on the other foot and I can’t kick unshod. Besides, how am I to make the World Cup squad if I can’t get anyone out?”
What he definitely didn’t:
“The additional bounce suits me just fine. My kind of bowling relies less on turn and more on upward trajectory.”