Indian spin legend Harbhajan Singh is one of the best bowlers that the nation has ever produced. He has single-handedly won many matches for India. The 39-year-old has scalped a record 417 wickets in Tests and 269 wickets in ODI for India. He also has 25 wickets in the twenty-over format. He has won both the T20 World Cup in 2007 and the ODI World Cup in 2011.
Harbhajan Singh last played for India in 2016 and hasn’t been picked in the squad ever since. If it hadn’t been for Ganguly, Harbhajan would have had a very short career which ended back in 2000. Speaking in a show named ‘Dadagiri’, hosted by Sourav Ganguly, he spoke about his comeback in the Indian team and credited Sourav Ganguly for reviving his career.
He said, “I was dropped for a long time. I was also discarded by the NCA before that series, I was very low. If it wasn’t for my captain Sourav Ganguly then I probably would have settled down in Canada like many of my friends. Thank you Sourav bhai for supporting me throughout my career.”
Anil Kumble’s injury came in as a blessing for Singh as he was picked up as Kumble’s replacement in the three-match series against Australia in 2001. He said, “I didn’t have many options in that series. If I hadn’t picked up wickets, it would have been my last series for India.”
Harbhajan performed well in the first Test. But, it was the second Test against the Aussies where he entered the record books by becoming the first Indian to claim a Test hat-trick.
Recalling his hat-trick, he said, “That was an unbelievable moment for me. The only greater moment I can think of is when we won the 2007 T20 World Cup and then the 2011 ODI World Cup. That moment was something special. The crowd, my teammates celebrated like it was their own hat-trick. For the first time, I saw Rahul Dravid celebrating like that. I will always say that is not my hat-trick, that is India’s hat-trick.”
India won the series 2-1 and Harbhajan picked up a whopping 32 wickets in the three-match series. That series proved to be his turning point and then there was just no looking back.