Dubai: Mumbai Indians Chief Mentor Anil Kumble has backed the team’s key spin duo of Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha to come good despite a disappointing start to the Pepsi Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014.
The India stars struggled to make an impact in the tournament’s opening game as Mumbai were beaten by 41 runs by Kolkata Knight Riders on Wednesday. Veteran off-spinner Harbhajan and left-armer Ojha went wicketless and were unable to stem the flow of runs as the game went away from the IPL champions.
But ex-India spinner Kumble — the third highest wicket-taker in Test history with 619 — believes the pair’s experience will ensure they bounce back strongly, starting against Royal Challengers Bangalore at Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Saturday.
“The two spinners are the best spinners in India and they showed what they are capable of last season, when they picked up 40 wickets between them, and it’s just the start of the tournament,” Kumble said at a media conference at the ICC Academy here on Friday.
“I’m sure things can only get better. We’ve spoken about it. I’m sure they’re experienced enough, they have more than 500 Test wickets [between them], I don’t think they should worry too much.”
Kumble admitted Mumbai had much to improve on after their loss to Kolkata, where they could only muster 122 for seven when chasing 164 to win in Abu Dhabi.
“We’ve had a slow start, but everybody knows this is a long tournament and I’m sure we’ll get into our stride very quickly,” he said. “I think all three areas [batting, bowling and fielding] we need to improve on and that’s something we have spoken about over the last couple of days.
“We are a good side and we realise that. We stick to what we can control and what we can achieve on the field. That’s what the focus is and we’re pretty confident we will be able to put on a good show tomorrow [Saturday] and hopefully get the right result.”