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ICC Champions Trophy
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September 23, 2002
1635 IST

Pool A:
Aus | Ban | NZ

Pool B:
Ind | Eng | Zim

Pool C:
Ken | SA | WI

Pool D:
Ned | Pak | SL

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Harbhajan is the best off-spinner: Vettori

Faisal Shariff in Colombo

Daniel Vettori, the youngest spinner to bag 100 Test wickets, revealed that he's spotted a weakness in Sachin Tendulkar's batting.

"Bishen Singh Bedi told me that you should try and get Sachin out caught and bowled. After observing a couple of innings I believe I will try that during the Test series," he said.

Speaking after New Zealand's premature exit from the ICC Champions Trophy, the New Zealander said the defeat against Australia hurt like hell.

"We thought that we had our plans in place, but we bowled poorly at the start and that hampered us. If the Australians get off to a good start then it is impossible to stop them. We tried to draw back but they got away from us. Our batting was disappointing. It was an extremely poor game. Coming in as defending champions, it was disappointing."

Daniel Vettori The bespectacled left=arm spinner, however, came off with flying colours in the match by bowling his 10 overs for 25 runs.

"I have had quite a bit of experience bowling to them [the Australians] lately, during the tour of Australia last year. I knew how good Mathew Hayden and [Darren] Lehmann play spin. I quickened it up a bit and bowled slowly to the right-handers."

Coming from the country that gave the world Richard Hadlee, the greatest swing bowler of all time, Vettori has had it tough being a spin bowler.

"There haven't been too many spinners and for myself to be so young and have the maximum number of Test wickets is quite a novelty back home. In terms of spin, John Bracewell has gone overseas, so I have never really had the opportunity to work with him. I have been left by myself, which I have enjoyed at times."

Rating Harbhajan Singh as the finest off-spinner, Vettori reckoned that bowling to the Indians will be the greatest challenge for him.

"If I can bowl well against them it will be a great high in my life.

"From a technical point of view, Harbhajan is the best spinner in the world. Saqlain [Mushtaq] and Murali [Murlitharan] are quite different, so it is hard to pick up things from them. But with off-spin, Harbhajan is the best in the world. Warne is the greatest spinner of all time. But to look around for a quality offie, I think, Harbhajan is the best.

Harbhajan Singh "The way he spins the ball... so hard, with the required thrust, is amazing. If you see the revolutions on the ball when he tweaks it, in slow motion, you realize what he is all about. His variations are amazing. He is a force in both aspects of the game and as a spinner is purely a treat to watch. I have spoken with [John] Wright and he tells me that Harbhajan works very hard at his art."

Vettori believes that target bowling [pitching the ball in one spot during practice] is the ideal practice for spinners.

"If you can stick to a spot and bowl all six deliveries there then five out of them will be very good balls. Batsman might charge you, but if you can land all your variations on one spot then you can be a good bowler.

"Murali is very different, so you can't learn much from him. When Saqlain was in New Zealand his variations were very good. Murali is phenomenal, but the technical sort of thing... it is hard to pick up anything."


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