New Delhi:India will sorely miss Virender Sehwag and Zaheer Khan in next month's tri-series in Sri Lanka but the presence of match-winners and the balance of the team still make them the tournament favourite, said Harbhajan Singh.
Talking to reporters after unveiling the Compaq Cup 2009, which will be given to the winner of the tri-series also featuring New Zealand, Harbhajan conceded it would not be easy to replace players like Sehwag and Zaheer but felt the team could still pull it off.
"Sehwag is a key player. Any team in the world would miss a player like him. But now that he would not be playing, we would have to do well without him," Harbhajan said.
He said the return of veterans Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid would offset Sehwag's loss.
"We are a strong team and it's a balanced side. Besides, we have a number of match-winning players in the ranks. We have the youngsters and then you have experienced players like Dravid, Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh. If we play to our potential, we would return with this lovely trophy," he said after unveiling world's first digital sports trophy.
Like Sehwag, Zaheer too underwent a shoulder surgery which ruled him out of the tri-series and the subsequent Champions Trophy but Harbhajan seemed to have enough trust on other pacers to pull it off.
"Zaheer is such an experience bowler and it's unfortunate that he would not be playing. We are going to miss him," Harbhajan said.
"However, Ashish Nehra, RP Singh, Praveen Kumar and Ishant Sharma have been doing well and they will have to step up to the plate and deliver," he said.
"Overall, we have got enough talent and we did well against New Zealand at their home and also in Sri Lanka. Over the last two years, we have beaten every side. We just need to play to our potential to win the tri-series.
"It's an important series for us because right after that, we play the ICC Champions Trophy, which is a big event for us," he said.
Both Dravid and Nehra made a comeback to the ODI fold after their one-day career seemed over. Asked if he felt it was retrograde steps to bring back players who are on the wrong side of the 30s, Harbhajan begged to differ.
"For me, age is not the criterion. I don't think you become old at 32. Great players continue to perform at 35-36 and if a Nehra or Dravid is doing well, he would play for India. Age is not the consideration," he said.
Harbhajan's views were sought on Virender Sehwag's tussle with the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) as well but the spinner said he had no clue about it.
"To be honest, I'm not aware of the details. I have no clue what is happening between Viru and DDCA," he said.