Bengaluru: Relieved after ending a four-match losing streak, Mumbai Indians' spin spearhead Harbhajan Singh said head coach Ricky Ponting's positive attitude and calm demeanour played a huge part in keeping the team together in tough situations.
"He (Ponting) is a very positive guy. The way he played cricket throughout his career. He has been very positive about things whether you win or lose. He always says give your 100 per cent and that's what the boys are looking to do," he said after the 18-run win over Royal Challengers Bangalore here.
"The boys had lost four games and yet he stayed calm and composed. He has been fantastic with the team. Moreover, under Ponting's guidance, many youngsters like Unmukt Chand would help themselves to become a better cricketer, especially in the backdrop of his achievements of winning three world cups for Australia.
"I hope under his guidance lot of youngsters will know how to bat in different situations, which will help them to become better cricketers," he added. Apart from Ponting, Mumbai Indians also have Anil Kumble and Sachin Tendulkar in the dressing room as mentors which motivates players, Harbhajan said.
"We also have Anil Kumble, Sachin Tendulkar, lot of wealth we have in the dressing room, which obviously helps each and everyone of us to go out there and do something for the team," he said. Asked to rate yesterday's performance, Harbhajan said he is happy about his performance with both bat and ball since the last two IPL seasons and hopes to make a comeback to the Indian team with consistent performances.
"I am happy that I am among wickets this IPL. Even the previous and before that I did well in the IPL. I was the highest wicket-taking spinner. I am happy the way I am going. I will continue to work hard in the nets. If I continue to bat and bowl well, I am hopeful, I will get a chance to play for India again," he said. Harbhajan said bowling slower through the air has worked wonders for him.
"The slower ball needs to be hit by the batsmen and if you have variation in the slower ball then you are forcing batsmen to take chances. That's what I have been looking to do. I am backing my strengths and looking to bowl slower in the air and with nice shape on it. "Just making sure I don't give easy boundaries. This is
what I have learnt. In last three IPLs I have bowled really slow, which has worked for me and hopefully I will just continue to work hard and keep on getting rewards," he said.
Talking about his 100th IPL match, Harbhajan said it is a great achievement as he became the only player after Chennai Super Kings' Suresh Raina to play hundred games for one franchise. "I am very happy. I am pleased with my performance in the IPL so far. It is a great achievement. I am the only player after Suresh Raina to play 100 matches for one franchisee.
I feel great to be part of Mumbai Indians setup," he said. "The last four games, we did not play well. This game also they (RCB) came back really very strong, but still we managed to get a win, I am happy about it," he said. Asked whether Mumbai Indians have found the right rhythm and combination, Harbhajan said batting was not a concern even in earlier games.
"In the last two games, we batted well. We were thinking to do something about our bowling and fielding. We have the best bowling attack in this competition," he said. Harbhajan further said bowlers have to be brave to create chances and take wickets because the T20 format is cut out for batsmen and lavished praise on Yuzvendra Chahal who conceded 27 runs in four overs.
"This format is batsmen-friendly. Bowlers have to be brave and take wickets and produce chances. I think Chahal was fantastic for RCB. He bowled so well that he gave away 27 runs in four overs," he said.