'Harbhajan will be toughest to face'

Chennai: Michael Clarke on Thursday congratulated Harbhajan Singh who is set to play his 100th Test and said the off-spinner would be the toughest to face among the Indian bowlers.

"Firstly I think this is great for Harbhajan… On behalf of the Australian team, we congratulate him. It's a very special achievement.

"He is going to be very hard to face among all the Indian bowlers but we have our plans to win this Test," Clarke said.

"Harbhajan has been a wonderful player. I always had a very good relationship with Harbhajan. I have faced challenges on the field as he is a very good bowler. He has played Test matches against the best players and I am sure that this Test is not going to be different," the Australian captain added.

Clarke enquired whether Harbhajan had announced the Indian team. When told that Harbhajan had said Clarke would make changes to the team Friday, he quipped: "I would never say never. You would never know…"

On a serious note, Clarke sounded confident about their preparations ahead of the first Test.

"Well, they can be prepared as well as they can be. We have tried hard to be prepared as well we can. We have played two practice games earlier on.

"I am pretty confident that this wicket will spin and also pretty confident with the preparations that we have had for 10 days since being in India we are in much better position than what we were before coming here.

"You can only prepare as much as you can. Now it is about going out and having confidence in your own ability.

"Playing spin bowlers is no different to playing fast bowling… You need to have the courage to stick to that plan whether you make zero or 100. Sometimes it works well and sometimes it does not. Now we are going to try our best. That is for sure."

He defended their bowling combination.

"I am going to play the way I play my best cricket. The same goes for the team. It is no good that we pick the same team as India.

"We have a different team to England or South Africa. We are going to try and use our strengths. We have an advantage in conditions where we think that fast bowling will play a part.

"But on the other hand we do have our balance in Nathan Lyon… David Warner is bowling lot of leg spin in the nets and I can bowl some left arm orthodox as well. So, I feel we can cover all bases but there is no doubt that our strength with three fast bowlers and a medium pacer is going to that."

Clarke once again harped on the importance of this series.

"This is a huge series. Every time we come to India it is always tough cricket. India have always been one of the toughest teams to play against and we always look forward to that challenge.

"We are looking back at our performances against South Africa and Sri Lanka and we are not looking forward to the Ashes.

"We are really focused on this series in India and holding the advantage by winning the first Test."

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

On Now: Rajasthan Royals vs Kings XI Punjab

On Now: Rajasthan Royals vs Kings XI Punjab

GAME 7, SHARJAH—Fifties from Watson, Samson power Rajasthan to a big score. More »

Royal test for Kings

Royal test for Kings

Preview — Clash of philosophies between Australia-centric teams More »

Have nothing to prove to anybody — Sehwag

Have nothing to prove to anybody — Sehwag

The Nawab of Najafgarh says a good run in IPL could help his chances of a comeback on India's tour to England in June. More »

Shastri in proposed IPL probe panel

Shastri in proposed IPL probe panel

Some members stressed on the need for proposing names with an "impeccable record and clean image". More »

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Furious fifties by Duminy and Dinesh Karthik end a long losing streak for the Daredevils. More »

Five things England must do to bounce back

Five things England must do to bounce back

England have appointed a new head coach in Peter Moores. More »

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

Royal Challengers overcame a stutter to cruise to the small target they were set by Mumbai Indians. More »

‘Felt like helpless minority’

‘Felt like helpless minority’

Former BCCI treasurer Ajay Shirke says emotions got the better of Srinivasan and he tried to oversimplify things by calling Meiyappan an “enthusiast.” More »

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

Kevin Pietersen's hopes of reviving his international career appeared to end Saturday when ECB managing director Paul Downton said there was 'no way back'… More »

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

His status as president of TNCA makes him eligible to attend the Working Committee meeting on Sunday. More »

Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell seems to project an icy disdain when at the crease. Match situations rarely faze him and the bubble in which he plays excludes everyone … More »

The world record that nearly wasn't

The world record that nearly wasn't

Twenty years ago this week, Brian Lara became Test cricket's highest scorer, but he almost didn't make it. More »

Moores gets second stint as coach

Moores gets second stint as coach

In a two-year spell from 2007 to 2009, the 51-year-old Moores led England in seven Test series. More »

Bangladesh senior players to see shrink

Bangladesh senior players to see shrink

Bangladesh's senior players will have three sessions with a psychological skill development coach later this month More »

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

Dalmiya feels that Srinivasan’s ‘power hungry’ attitude isn’t helping matters. More »

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

The 36-year-old believes the T20 format and rule changes in 50-over matches have made a real difference. More »

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Kevin Pietersen has ridiculed the idea of day-night Test cricket, saying the game would be so different to proper Test cricket that we will need a whole… More »

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

The bowlers restricted Hyderabad to 133 for 6 before Rahane and Binny took Rajasthan over the line. More »

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

The Kings XI batsman blasted a 43-ball 95 to help his team pull off a massive chase against Chennai Super Kings. More »

BCCI members want independent probe

BCCI members want independent probe

The board members are realising after the Supreme Court's observations that something has to be done — IS Bindra More »

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

Two former BCCI presidents, Shashank Manohar and Jagmohan Dalmiya, have reacted strongly to the news of the BCCI calling an emergent meeting on Sunday… More »

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Preview — The threat of Sunil Narine looms large again. More »

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Preview — Given the firepower in both line-ups, Dubai crowd may see another high-scorer More »

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj Singh was hardly convincing to begin with against Delhi, but a big dose of crowd support and a helping of poor bowling meant he had the opportunity… More »