India need to stay focused to beat New Zealand: Harbhajan


Kolkata: The Indian cricket team is high on confidence after beating formidable Australia in the Test and Limited Over International series, but needs to stay focused to pull it off in the upcoming home series against New Zealand, spinner Harbhajan Singh said here Monday.

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“We have to stay focused. If we play good cricket and play to our potential, we can beat them (New Zealand),” Harbhajan told mediapersons here.

However, the 30-year-old cricketer said he found New Zealand’s recent 0-4 loss in an away ODI series to Bangladesh a “little shocking”.

“To be honest, I had not watched the games. But I later learnt, New Zealand lost 0-4. I found this a little shocking,” he said.

But he praised Bangladesh, saying it had now improved a lot. “Any team playing Bangladesh on their home soil has to be very careful. It is a much better team now”.

On the home series against New Zealand, the ‘turbanator’ said, “The Indian team is now very high on confidence after doing so well against Australia. We are looking forward to the New Zealand series, which is a new challenge”.

India play three Test matches and five One-Day Internationals in November-December series against the Kiwis. The first Test starts Nov 4 in Ahmedabad.

Harbhajan said he had little knowledge about the Indian cricket board’s decision to send players in two groups to South Africa for the Test and ODI series, but supported the idea.

“Well it is always nice to start a tour with lots of practice. You can form a better idea about the place, the wicket and the climate if you go early.”

“Whatever time is there, we have to utilsie fully to do well,” he said.

To a query about whether India could face hard times, just like the present young Australian team, once the experienced players retire, Harbhajan said: “In the recent ODI series, we won in Vishakhapatnam without several first choice players. We have lot of talented youngsters. They are playing decently.”

Showering praise on Sachin Tendulkar, now one short of completing 50 Test hundreds, Harbhajan said: “I hope he gets it in the opening Test in Ahmedabad.”

“It is going to be one of the biggest things in the history of cricket. He is achieving great milestones one after the other. Hats off to him. It will be great to be a part of the celebrations when he achieves it.”

Harbhajan was in the city to launch a range of toothpaste and toothbrush brought out by the conglomerate ICore. Harbhajan is the brand ambassador of the company.