Considering that the margin for error is very less in Twenty20 leagues such as IPL, veteran off-spinner Harbhajan Singh says it is important to "have courage and bowl without fear" in the slam-bang format where batsmen call the shots.
Playing for Mumbai Indians in the ongoing seventh edition of the Indian Premier League, Harbhajan last night turned in an impressive performance during his side's win over Royal Challengers Bangalore, claiming the important wicket of a marauding Chris Gayle.
"In this format, you cannot save yourself and think that you won't go for runs. You will go for runs, but at the same time, you have to have the courage to accept the challenge and bowl without fear," Harbhajan said. "You have to take those risks and that is what I look to do.
When I was bowling to Gayle, I was only planning to get him out rather than giving him a single. The best way to keep batsmen quiet is to get them out rather than being defensive." The experienced campaigner, who has often delivered under pressure, said he has always enjoyed being challenged.
"I have played a lot of cricket under pressure all these years and this is also one of the stages in my career where I am giving my best for my side. There are certain people who perform when the stage is big and the opponents are big. I enjoy such challenges," he said.
"I know I will only come out stronger from such situations. It might not always work your way, but you have to accept the challenge and see what is in store for you. "In this format, you will get wickets that are batsmen-friendly.
All you can do is use your brain and use variations and make sure you do not give too much pace for the batsmen to score freely," explained Harbhajan. Asked if being the senior-most spinner in the side puts extra pressure on him, Harbhajan said, "I am quite happy with the way things are going.
I am open to bowling at any stage of the game. I realise that I am probably the senior-most player in the team along with Lasith Malinga. "It is up to us to share the load of the bowling attack when it comes to powerplays or at the death.
The job becomes a bit difficult when you do not have too many experienced bowlers in the side, but it is good to see youngsters taking up the challenge and delivering for us."