Sudhir Naik slams Harbhajan for pitch criticism

May 01, 2012, 06:08 IST | Harit N Joshi

Curator Sudhir Naik slams Mumbai Indians skipper Harbhajan Singh for his Wankhede pitch criticism in Sunday's game against Deccan Chargers

Wankhede Stadium curator Sudhir Naik slammed Mumbai Indians skipper Harbhajan Singh for saying that the wicket at the 2011 World Cup final venue is not good for T20 cricket. 

Mumbai Indians captain Harbhajan Singh (left) interacts with Sachin Tendulkar during the IPL match against Deccan Chargers at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Sunday. Pic/AFP

Batsmen from both sides struggled on a grassy pitch that offered seam movement. Though Mumbai Indians registered a five-wicket win against Deccan Chargers in a low-scoring Indian Premier League (IPL) match on Sunday, Harbhajan’s men had to fight hard to chase down a paltry target of 101 with 11 balls to spare.

Veteran curator and former India Test cricketer, Naik said Mumbai Indians need to blame themselves for their poor performance in IPL-V so far. “If they (MI) bat well, then it is a good wicket.

And when they don’t, they conveniently put the blame on the wicket. I don’t think Mumbai Indians is playing well at the moment. “They are going through a bad patch with injuries to key players. They don’t want to blame their players for any failures,” Naik told MiD DAY yesterday.

Sudhir Naik

Harbhajan was critical of the Wankhede wicket despite a win. “This was a different wicket from what we have played at the Wankhede,” Harbhajan said during the post-match presentation function.

“(It was) not good for Twenty20 cricket. I came today and saw the pitch and said ‘wow what to expect here,’ we never know what to expect from this track. From next time, I think we have to ensure we know what kind of wicket we are going to play (on).”

White supports Bhajji
Deccan skipper Cameron White supported Harbhajan’s claim. “It had a little bit of grass and a little bit of moisture. The wicket is changing here from time to time, said Harbhajan there (presentation ceremony).

What I understand is that there is a different wicket every time (here). Probably not an ideal Twenty20 wicket, but both teams had to play on it,” White said in the post-match media conference.

Naik disagreed with the senior India offie’s remark. “I think it was a good T20 wicket. The Wankhede wicket has always good bounce and carry. If they want to play on paata (placid) wicket, then this is not the right place because our soil is different,” said Naik, who is also the West Zone representative in Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) Ground and Pitches Committee.

It can be recalled that there was a minor controversy when Rajasthan Royals’ Shreevats Goswami blamed the last-minute pitch change for their first loss of the IPL-V against Mumbai Indians on April 11. 

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