Mumbai: Whenever Harbhajan Singh confronts an Australian on the field, there is some heat. Expect it to be no different when the Turbanator takes the field for the Mumbai Indians against the Deccan Chargers on Sunday.
The Chargers, led by Adam Gilchrist, also have Andrew Symonds in the team, and the old flame could be re-ignited. Remember, this would be the first time the two would be playing against each other on Indian soil after Monkeygate. Symonds was not part of the Australian squad that toured India in 2008 and 2009.
Harbhajan sought to play down the theme at the press conference on Saturday.
Its just another game for me. I have played a lot against him (Symonds) or any other team. I am not looking at these (IPL) games as clashes between me and him or (Matthew) Hayden or any other player. Sundays match is not about me and Symonds, Harbhajan said on the eve of the match.
But if his emotional celebration after getting rid of Hayden, who had called him an obnoxious weed in a radio interview in 2008, in the last match is anything to go by, Bhajji will be more than happy to get Symonds wicket.
Asked for his views on sledging that heated moments on the field produce, Harbhajan said: Main to chhod diya re (I have stopped doing it)!
On more cricketing matters, the off-spinner said that his side, who are scheduled to play six of their first eight matches at home, would look to exploit the advantage and ensure their semi-final berth.
This (playing the Chargers at the DY Patil Stadium) is like a home game for us. We want to go up to 10 points. We want to be the first to qualify for the semi-finals. In the last two seasons, we made a lot of mistakes, and we dont want that to happen this time, he said.
Asked what the team has done right this season, the Punjab bowler said: Last two years we were almost there but did not make it. This time everybody is doing his job, and not leaving it for others (to finish it). Sachin Tendulkar has been a great match-winner for India and he is doing it for us in the IPL. Hope he continues the form.
On his own form, Harbhajan said: I am always happy when I am bowling, whether I bowl well or not, because I enjoy playing this game. In this kind of format, there is no need to panic if you go for runs in one or two matches.