Centurion: With their semi-final hopes dead and buried, Mumbai Indians will play for pride as they take on table-toppers Delhi Daredevils in their last league encounter of the Indian Premier League here on Thursday. Languishing at seventh place, Sachin Tendulkar's men will look to end their campaign on a positive note.
Harbhajan Singh, who mesmerised many batsmen with his spin, talked to CNN-IBN about his experience at IPL II and the reasons why the team failed to make it to the semi-finals.
CNN-IBN: It must very difficult playing a dead rubber against the top leaders when you know that there are no chances of making it to the semi-finals?
Harbhajan Singh: Well obviously it is. We are in a position where we know that we can't go in the semi-finals but still we can play to win the match. It will be good for us, when we go back in flight we can go in a happy mood that we won the last game. It is unfortunate that we couldn't make it to the semi-finals but to be honest we didn't play up to our potential, while the other teams played better than us.
But this is not the end of the road, we have got lot of IPLs and other things and we have to get ready for them. Life has to move on, it is true that this is very unfortunate that we couldn't become one of the top teams and make it to the semi-finals because we expected to be the first team to be in the semi-finals but things didn't go in our way. We lost three to four games and we unfortunately didn't click. But as I said it is not the end of the road, we'll definitely do well in the next IPL.
CNN-IBN: If you look at the team, as you said it is one of the most high profile team. You have good bowlers, good batsmen like Sachin Tendulkar, Sanath Jayasuriya and a good middle order batsmen like JP Duminy. So what do you feel, as collective team where did it lack?
Harbhajan Singh: To be honest, Twenty20 is a kind of a tournament where you have to bank in on a lot on you batsmen because you have to consistently score a lot of runs. And probably that was the reason because we didn’t score enough runs in this tournament. However, the bowlers of the team did well as you would have seen the batsmen of the other teams really struggled hard to bat against us.
We had a good bowling attack, whenever we scored 13-140 runs we made sure that we win the match but I would say batting was a major problem. As for the tournament we didn't click as a batting unit. But yes things happen, we can't just keep looking back, we need to think ahead. Hopefully, we do well next year.
CNN-IBN: Many people feel that you could have been better used during crucial times, do you think the same?
Harbhajan Singh: Yes, at times I do think that I could have been used better in different situations but end of the day you have a captain who is thinking in the ground. He must be thinking different things, it is not an easy job for a captain to keep thinking about one baller. But to be honest we didn't play up to our potential in this tournament and therefore we are in this position but hopefully we'll work harder and do better next season.
CNN-IBN: You all went on a safari after that do you think that it took away some bit of shock away from the team?
Harbhajan Singh: We are trying to come out of this shock that we won't be playing semi-finals and as a unit we are trying to go to the places we can. It is also a kind of team building exercise because it involves everyone in the team, so it s great thing to do together. It is beautiful country to see and so we had a good time here.
CNN-IBN: Before summing it up, I would like to ask you about your performance. Did you feel that at times you were confused about your own role in the team?
Harbhajan Singh: Yes, there were times when I was thinking that I should have been balling in a particular over but as I said one man can't change the game. The captain has his own sort of ideas so what ever decision he takes we have to back him and play to the best of our abilities.
So, as you said yes at times you do feel and not just in this tournament but even when you play for India you do feel at times that you must have been balling in this over. These things do happen but what matters at the end of the day is the result. You have to give your best shot whenever you are required to.