Bowling in T20s is a big challenge: Harbhajan Singh

Off-spinner talks about countering the challenges he faces in T20s

Jaipur 18 April 2013
For the first half of the first innings, you could feel the Rajasthan Royals were well and truly playing at home. The Mumbai Indians bowlers were carted all over the park; if they bowled length, they were massacred straight down the ground or over mid-on or mid-off for boundaries and maximums. On a day when the MI bowlers had an off day on the field, Harbhajan Singh proved to be the side’s lone bright star with the most economical bowling figures and a wicket to his name.

In an exclusive chat with, Habhajan talks about his approach towards bowling in the shortest format of the game and expresses his appreciation for Haryana spinner Ajit Chandila

Is bowling in T20s the biggest challenge for a bowler?

Bowling in T20s has always been a challenge. Since we are playing in India, it is even more difficult where the pitches are batting friendly and the boundaries are quite small. But these are things that every bowler has to go through. I believe at the end of the day, you got to believe in yourself and give it your best shot when you are about to bowl under such circumstances.”

How important have slow bowlers become in this format of the game?

Look, bowlers are going to go for runs in this format of the game. But you have to think that, when the batsmen are looking to go after you, you have a chance to pick wickets as well at the same time. You have to keep believing in yourself as a bowler that even if you go for runs, you can pick up wickets. You have to back yourself and bowl accordingly.

IPL is such a tournament where there are a lot of unknown batsmen. How tough is it to bowl to such kind of batsmen?

It is the toughest to bowl against batsmen who you do not have an idea about. You do not know their style of play and what kind of strokes they play to score their runs, hence it is challenging. Whatever videos I get to see of such batsmen, I try to analyse that part of it and bowl my best balls to them when I face them.

How important are dot balls in T20s?

Dot balls are obviously vital in the game. You put a lot of pressure on the opposition when you bowl a lot of dot balls. They are important to the game, but I believe you can only survive in this format of the game by taking wickets. Taking wickets have to be of more importance than trying to just bowl dot balls.

What is your approach before every T20 game?

I try to keep things as simple as possible. I take the game one step at a time. I always feel I have to bowl according to the situation of the team. I back myself whether I am bowling up front or bowling in the middle of the innings or bowling at the death. I try to give the best services to my team whenever I represent my team.

Tell us about your new found camaraderie with Ricky Ponting.

(Smiles) I am playing for a team. For me the team comes first, no matter whom I am playing with or whom I am playing against. If I am playing for one team, whether it is playing with Ricky Ponting or Keiron Pollard, I will still run and hug my team mates.

Your take on Ajit Chandila?

Ajit Chandila is a different bowler. Not many people have seen much of him. He bowled really well. He bowls slowly in the air which has been the key to his success today. This performance by him today will boost his confidence as getting the wickets of Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting is no joke. I wish him good luck and he deserves the appreciation. Hope he makes it to the top level. 
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