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'I didn't trust my technique after I got out to Harbhajan Singh for the first time' - Ricky Ponting

Harbhajan Singh enjoyed great success against Ricky Ponting, especially in Test cricket
Harbhajan Singh enjoyed great success against Ricky Ponting, especially in Test cricket
Kartik Iyer
Modified 22 Dec 2020, 10:24 IST

Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting has revealed that he lost confidence in his technique against Harbhajan Singh the first time he was dismissed by the off-spinner in the 2001 Mumbai Test.

He made this disclosure in a recent edition of Ravichandran Ashwin's YouTube show DRS with Ash.

Ashwin asked Ricky Ponting about his interesting duels with great off-spinners like Graeme Swann, Harbhajan Singh and Muttiah Muralitharan. He responded that his contests against the Indian off-spinner are the ones that are most talked about.

"Well, Harbhajan is the obvious one. I had some unbelievable battles with him."

Ricky Ponting acknowledged Harbhajan Singh befuddled him quite regularly with his web of tricks in the longest format of the game.

"And probably, more often than not, he had the better of me. Certainly, in Test cricket. I think he has got me out as many times as anybody in Test cricket."

Ricky Ponting's views on his duels with Harbhajan Singh during the 2001 Test series in India

The battles between Harbhajan Singh and Ricky Ponting have drawn plenty of eyeballs
The battles between Harbhajan Singh and Ricky Ponting have drawn plenty of eyeballs

Ricky Ponting recalled Harbhajan Singh dismissing him each time he walked to the crease in the 2001 Test series against India. He added the Turbanator almost had a magical grip over him in red-ball cricket.

"I remember that one series where, I guess that must be 2001, I think he got me out 5 times or every time I batted in that series. Yeah, it was almost like he had some sort of spell over me every time I walked out to bat in Test cricket."

Ricky Ponting pointed out he had not played much spin bowling in his formative years and that the Australian wickets do not offer much for a spinner even at the highest level.

"When I look back now, growing up in Tasmania, playing on hard wickets my whole career, hardly facing any spin bowling at all until I got to the top-level."
"And when you get to the top-level when you play in Australia, you don't really get much out of the wickets. So, as a batsman, you don't really have a lot of fear about playing spin bowling on Australian wickets."

Ricky Ponting recollected playing a substantial knock in the practice game before the first Test match of the 2001 series.

"But coming here to India, I remember the first Test of that series was in Mumbai. I got runs in the tour game as well. I think I got a 80 or 90 or may be a 100 in the tour game. I felt really good coming into the game."

The Tasmanian added he didn't think he had committed a mistake when he got out to Harbhajan Singh for the first time.

"I go out to bat and just pushed forward to one, got an inside-edge on to the pad, caught at short leg and I was walking off thinking, I haven't done much wrong there and I am out."

Ricky Ponting disclosed he didn't trust his technique against Harbhajan Singh after that first dismissal and got out in multiple ways over the next couple of matches.

"And from that moment on, I didn't trust my technique. So, I was trying to find a different way to play. And the next innings, I ran down the wicket first ball and got stumped. And then, I tried to sweep, got a bottom-edge on the first one, popped up to short leg."

He acknowledged he was not technically equipped at the time to counter the spinner on turning tracks.

"And that was just all on the back of not having enough experience or enough skill, if you like, to combat Indian conditions."

Ricky Ponting signed off by observing that while Harbhajan Singh was at his peak during the 2001 series, his own game was down in the dumps.

"And against Harbhajan, that probably was the best series he ever had in his career. I think he took 30-odd wickets in three Tests. He was on top of his game and I wasn't. And that was the start of him having a really good run against me."

Harbhajan Singh dismissed Ricky Ponting 10 times in Test cricket, the most the Aussie batting great has been dismissed by any bowler. During the historic 2001 Test series in India, Ricky Ponting scored just 17 runs in five innings at a mediocre average of 3.4, with Harbhajan Singh getting the better of him on each of the five occasions.

Published 22 Dec 2020, 10:24 IST
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