SA series will be of little consequence during WC: Harbhajan

Written by: Pti
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Kushan Sarkar

New Delhi, Jan 30 (PTI) Senior off-spinner HarbhajanSingh believes that the team''s impressive performance in SouthAfrica will be of little consequence when India embark ontheir World Cup journey against Bangladesh next month.

"From my personal experience, I can tell you that ourgood show in South Africa may give us a bit of confidence butthat''s about it. Doing well in bouncy pitches in South Africaand playing in the World Cup is a different ball gamealtogether," Harbhajan told PTI in an exclusive interview.

To elaborate his view he gave example of India''s tour toNew Zealand in 2002 before the 2003 World Cup in South Africa.

"If you remember, we had a disastrous tour of New Zealandwhere we lost in both Test and ODI series. But when we playedin the World Cup, it was a different story. In fact, wecompletely dominated while we beat New Zealand and played inthe finals. That''s why I feel that a bilateral series cannever be an indicator to a team''s performance in a big event,"the feisty off-spinner said.

Talking about World Cups and Harbhajan, who will beplaying in his third, still fondly recollects the memories ofthe 2003 edition when the team reached the finals under SouravGanguly''s captaincy.

"I sincerely hope that we can emulate our 2003 feat andeven do one better by winning the Cup. It will be a great giftfor millions of fans. On our part, we can assure oursupporters that we will give more than 100 percent when we getout there," he said.

When asked what was special about that ''Class of 2003'',who looked unstoppable till Ricky Ponting singlehandedly tookthe final away from them, he said, "Have a look at the squadof 2003, you will find guys like myself, Zak (Zaheer Khan),Ashish (Nehra) and Viru (Sehwag) were all young having onlyplayed couple of seasons in international cricket.

"We were fearless and never believed that we would cowdown under any sort of pressure. If you enjoy playing inpressure situations, you tend to give your best. That''s whathappened. Also we had seniors like Sachin (Tendulkar), Sourav(Ganguly) guiding us."

A veteran of 93 Tests and 217 ODIs, Harbhajan, who is nowsecond in the list of seniormost cricketers after SachinTendulkar, feels like 2003, this time also India''s World Cupcampaign will depend a lot on how the likes of Virat Kohli,Suresh Raina and Yusuf Pathan handle pressure situations.

"As a senior player, I have loads of expectations fromguys like Virat, Yusuf and Raina. Just like we (Sehwag, Nehra,Zaheer, Kaif) were the youngest lot in 2003. These youngsterswill be eager to show how well they can manage to hold theirnerves on big stage. .

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