Melbourne, Feb 11: Harbhajan Singh on Monday warned Australian fans, who have been booing him incessantly on the ongoing tour, saying their promptings are proving to be inspirational for him.
The ace off-spinner has been target of public ire in the stadiums since he was declared not guilty in a racism row, also involving Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds, last month. Every time he steps on to the field, it seems he can't avoid the heckling from the stands.
"I don't mind when people boo me. The more they do it, the more I'm going to play hard. Actually, it gives me pleasure that everyone knows me at the ground. It inspires me to do well," Harbhajan said.
"The more they say it the more they would see a tougher and tougher Harbhajan on the field," said the feisty Sikh who returned figures of 1-19 from eight miserly overs in the five-wicket victory over Australia at the MCG on Sunday.
But Harbhajan is not complacent and wants to be cautious against Sri Lanka on Tuesday, who he believes are a good team in one-dayers.
"I don't believe in momentum. We are going to put our best show but tomorrow is a different game. We have to start well again. They would come out strongly and try to win the game. It would be a good challenge for both the teams," he said.
Harbhajan, however, praised Indian batsmen for playing Muttiah Muralitharan the way they did in their first match in Brisbane.
"We really played Murali well in that game. He picked two early wickets and still went for 56 runs, it doesn't happen with him always."
Harbhajan defended Yuvraj Singh who has been in poor form on this tour.
"He is a champion player. If you rate the top-10 batsmen in one-day cricket, he would be one of them. I'm sure it's a matter of a game when he would get those runs, may be tomorrow itself."
Harbhajan also chose the moment to state that his side is not intimidated by Australia and has never been, especially him.
"We're not intimidated. It's always been the same, we have never been scared of any team. It's the other teams which are scare of us, especially of me."
Having been in the public eye throughout on this tour, Harbhajan still doesn't want a break and is not a great advocate of rotation policy or would recommend one for young Ishant Sharma who has bowled a lot of overs on this tour.
"I don't feel tired when I play for my country. I don't believe in resting unless one is really, really tired," he said adding: "Ishant [Sharma] is just 19, he should be looking forward to play all the games.
"He has improved a great deal from that game in Bangalore against Pakistan. He is running in and bowling in great areas. He bowls with good rhythm and Sreesanth is back as well. Our fast bowlers are bowling well on this tour."