Wednesday, September 9, 2009

India captaincy interests Harbhajan

A coy Virender Sehwag does not want to lead the Indian cricket team but his feisty teammate Harbhajan Sigh does.
Sehwag has already informed the selectors about his reluctance and requested them to groom someone for future.

Harbhajan, on his part, said incumbent Mahendra Singh Dhoni is doing an excellent job at the helm but he made no bones about his own ambition, saying he would not shy away if Team India captaincy ever comes his way.

"Whoever plays for India wants to lead the side at some stage and it's no different with me. At the end of the day, it's a huge honour for a player," Harbhajan told PTI in an interview hours before his departure for the tri-series in Sri Lanka.

The star off-spinner, however, gave a thumbs-up to Dhoni's captaincy and said, "At the moment, Dhoni is doing a fantastic job and there is no doubt that he is a brilliant skipper."

Harbhajan was seen in the captain's role in the recent BCCI Corporate Trophy where the off-spinner led Air India Blue to the final and the spinner said he thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

"Leading Air India Blue in Corporate Trophy was obviously a good experience. Of course you learn more and more with time but I certainly enjoyed it. It was a challenge for me which I accepted and enjoyed to the hilt," said the 29-year-old Punjab spinner.

Incidentally, Dhoni played under Harbhajan in the tournament and also rolled his arms for three unsuccessful overs in the final.

Talking about captaincy, one thing that baffles Harbhajan is the myth that bowlers make inferior captains and more often than not, the job goes to a batsman.

"I don't know why batsmen are traditionally preferred for the captain's job. I mean if you have good leadership skills, it should not matter whether you are a batsman or a bowler.

Your ability to lead should be the lone criterion," he said.

"Imran Khan was primarily a bowler when he took over captaincy and did a great job with Pakistan. And look at (New Zealand captain Daniel) Vettori today. He has been doing so well for quite a while. So how come people perceive captaincy a job beyond the bowlers?" Harbhajan asked.

A veteran of 189 ODIs and 77 Tests, Harbhajan acknowledged captaincy is a full-time responsibility when he would have to plan for others as well but said he can handle the pressure that comes with the job.

"I can cope with that. That's not a big deal, provided you get support from all your players," he said.

"Besides, as a senior player you are always consulting the captain and contributing in team strategy. We do that on a regular basis, planning and doing things which are good for the team. So I don't think that is an issue," Harbhajan said.

Dwelling on the captains he played under and the qualities he imbibed from them, Harbhajan said, "Sourav Ganguly was a fighter to the core as was (Anil) Kumble. Dhoni too never gives up and is very calm. He is handling the team really well. He is taking care of the young boys and looking after the seniors as well. That's his best quality and that is why he is delivering such rich results."

Asked if he would make Dhoni bowl under him, like he did in the Corporate Trophy, Harbhajan said, "I don't know about international games. But if situation demands, anyone can bowl.

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