Harbhajan Singh: ‘Let’s support the team in this hour’

The off-spinner termed India’s debacle in South Africa as “a great learning curve.”

Harbhajan Singh...“Like any other cricketer, I also wish to do well and make a case for myself.”   -  PTI

Virat Kohli should be backed to the hilt since the current tour of South Africa is his first "real overseas tour" as captain, reckons off-spinner Harbhajan Singh. Kohli has faced some scrutiny for his debatable selection policies for the second Test, which India lost by 135 runs to go down 2-0 in the three-match series.

India’s much vaunted batting line-up crumbled against South Africa’s pace attack when chasing two sub-300 targets - 208 in Cape Town and 287 in Centurion.

Kohli dropped Bhuvneshwar Kumar for the second Test despite a good show from the paceman in the series opener; he also excluded Ajinkya Rahane from the playing XI for both Tests.

Read: India paying the price for lack of preparation

"Everybody wants to improve. Let's support the team in this hour. We have not played as well as we would have expected. Maybe next time. This is a great learning curve. Hopefully, we will bounce back strongly. They need to back each other," Harbhajan told PTI after his arrival here for the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.

'Don't want to compare'

Harbhajan refused to compare the current Indian skipper with his predecessor M. S. Dhoni. "I don't want to compare. They played in different era. Every time we toured we had the best chance of winning. I don't want to compare teams of different eras. Kohli with Dhoni or the former players like Rahul Dravid, V. V. S. [Laxman] and Sachin [Tendulkar].

"Captaincy comes with a lot of responsibility. He has done really well so far. This was his first real overseas challenge. I don't call Sri Lanka a real overseas challenge with similar conditions (like India)."

On Thursday, Kohli was awarded the ICC Cricketer of the Year besides gaining the top honours in ODIs. "Kohli has been setting very high standards. I'm very happy to see him at the top of this game."

Harbhajan, who has been released by his Indian Premier League (IPL) side Mumbai Indians is here to lead Punjab in the final-leg of the domestic Twenty20 tournament. "We have done really well in Delhi," he said about his team’s North Zone campaign; it has so far won three matches, including a two-run humdinger against table topper Delhi.

"It's always good to see a lot of young and exciting talents coming up. It's good to compete with them. We have played well in Delhi. We have been bowling fine. Like any other cricketer, I also wish to do well and make a case for myself. Definitely I see this as a chance. It will be nice to win the Trophy," he said.

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