Indore, Oct 12: Indian captain Virat Kohli has responded to veteran offspinner Harbhajan Singh's comment of "tailor-made conditions for spinners" in the just concluded 3-Test series against New Zealand, which the hosts won 3-0.
Kohli-led Indian team whitewashed the Kiwis 3-0 yesterday (October 11) at Indore's Holkar Stadium with offspinner Ravichandran Ashwin being the chief architect with a match haul of 13 wickets. Kohli had scored his career best 211.
The 30-year-old Ashwin was both the Man-of-the-match and the Player-of-the-series after finishing with 27 scalps. (Had no clue Shami's daughter was in ICU: Kohli)
Harbhajan, who had said before the series that Kohli and coach Anil Kumble should avoid "rank turners", again took to the micro-blogging website Twitter during the 3rd Test to say the Indore pitch was suited for slow bowlers.
According to Harbhajan, he and Kumble could have had more wickets in Tests if they had got similar pitches that were seen in "last 4 years" in India.
"Only 2 in my 103 tests.. Kumble and my test wicket count would have been something else if we got wickets like last 4 years we playing on," Harbhajan replied to a tweet when he was reminded of 2 Test matches of 2004 and 2008 where spin played a huge part.
The 36-year-old Harbhajan, who played 103 Tests for India, took 417 wickets. Kumble is India's leading wicket-taker in the five-day format with 619 victims from 132 matches.
In another tweet, under the hashtag "#tailormadeconditionsforspinners", Harbhajan said "don't think New Zealand can bat for long". This was on the second day of the Test (October 9). He had said the pitch was "already spinning a lot".
Only 2 in my 103 tests.. Kumble and my test wicket count would have been something else if we got wickets like last 4 years we playing on👊 https://t.co/fvkdVw1I1v
Only 2 in my 103 tests.. Kumble and my test wicket count would have been something else if we got wickets like last 4 years we playing on👊 https://t.co/fvkdVw1I1v— Harbhajan Turbanator (@harbhajan_singh) October 9, 2016
17 of the 20 New Zealand wickets fell to spin as India crushed the visitors by 321 runs, their second biggest in terms of runs in history. The largest being 337-run margin against South Africa in New Delhi last year.
With the series victory in Indore, India became the number one Test side in the world and Kohli was presented with the ICC Test Championship mace.
In the post-match press conference, skipper Kohli was asked about Harbhajan's statement on spin-friendly tracks, for which, without referring directly to the Punjab spinner, said it was necessary to bowl well even on such surfaces.
"Who made that statement?," Kohli asked first. Then when he was told about Harbhajan, he replied, "Oh, okay."
He continued, "Well, it is obviously I mean...See even if it is a turning pitch you have to bowl well. There is no... spin doesn't happen only off the pitch. Spin is how many revs you can throw off the ball, from your shoulder first. And then the ball will do something off the pitch. When we lost to New Zealand I quite clearly remember in the World Cup (T20), suddenly their spinners were quality and we were found out. I don't see anyone talking about that now.
"The same spinners (Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi) have played. Why have they not been able to pick up wickets? It is as simple as that. Our fast bowlers picked up wickets everywhere. We never complained about anything. So... see you can give a guy a cement track to bat on. He needs to have the mindset to score runs. It is as simple as that. That is all I can sum up in".
Whenever India play at home, the debate is always around the pitches, which help spinners. Last year, South Africa lost the series 0-3 on spinning tracks and Nagpur surface was rated "poor" by the International Cricket Council (ICC). (Kohli takes a dig at ICC over pitch)
India and New Zealand will now play 5 One Day Internationals with the opener in Dharamsala on October 16 (Sunday).