In India, it is difficult for a cricketer to show that he is under some kind of stress. Here, you can only retire when you don’t want to play anymore or the motivation is lacking Harbhajan Singh Indian off-spinner
New Delhi: Graeme Swann’s sudden decision to retire might have taken everyone by surprise but spinner Harbhajan Singh feels that for an Indian cricketer, the decision to quit doesn’t happen overnight as the pressures and demands are much higher in this cricket-crazy country.
“I don’t know what were the conditions that prompted Swannn to take such a huge decision but it doesn’t happen like that for an Indian cricketer. I am not comparing the pressures and rigours but if any Indian cricketer takes such a decision, he will be under intense media scrutiny which at times can get very difficult,” Harbhajan told PTI on the sidelines of Punjab’s Ranji Trophy game here today.
Harbhajan, who is a veteran of 101 Test matches has had a roller-coaster ride in his 15-year-international career. “In India, it is difficult for a cricketer to show that he is under some kind of stress. Here, you can only retire when you don’t want to play anymore or the motivation is lacking. Having said that, I believe a quality bowler Swann could have played for a few more years,” the 33-year-old spinner said.
Harbhajan termed Swann as a real match-winner for England who should have achieved more international success than 255 wickets from 60 Test matches.”Look, he has helped England win a Test series in India. For a spinner outside the sub-continent, it is a big achievement. He has had success during the last Ashes series in England also. Whatever little I watched during the current Test matches, I don’t think he bowled badly,” Harbhajan explained.
“For a spinner growing up in England, it is challenging to become an off-spinner. The line and length needs to be altered on each of the four days of county cricket or five days of Test matches. The pitches in England don’t have a set pattern. It changes with each day and accordingly the length varies. Swann did that with great efficiency,” Harbhajan said.
“The amount of revolutions that Swann imparted at the pace higher than what off-break bowlers bowled made it difficult for batsmen,” he added.Harbhajan, who is still overcoming from shoulder injury has started bowling at the nets although he has some “stiffness”.
“Hopefully, we can post a good target for Delhi and win the match. I have started bowling and the pain is not there. But there is still some stiffness that needs to be monitored,” Harbhajan said.The feisty spinner is also turning entrepreneur with his brand of sports gear and apparels with branding of “Bhajji Sports”.
“I have entered the sports equipment business with ‘Bhajji Sports’. I am applying for ICC clearance so that cricket bats with ‘Bhajji Sports’ logos could be used for international matches. In domestic circuit, the Punjab team is already wearing Bhajji Sports dresses for the Ranji Trophy matches. I will soon have an official launch of my product line,” he concluded.
Graeme takes parting shot at teammates
London: Graeme Swann delivered a full-blooded parting shot at some of his England teammates on Sunday, claiming “they have no idea how far up their own backsides they are”. The off-spinner stunned the sport by announcing his immediate retirement from all forms of cricket following England’s defeat to Australia in the Ashes.
But the 34-year-old is not going quietly. “Some people playing the game at the minute have no idea how far up their own backsides they are,” Swann said in comments carried by the Daily Telegraph ahead of the fourth Test which starts in Melbourne on Thursday.
“It will bite them on the arse one day and when it does I hope they look back and are embarrassed about how they carry on.”Swann did not identify the players he was most disenchanted with, but in his autobiography ‘The Breaks Are Off’, published two years ago, he doubted Kevin Pietersen’s credentials as a captain.
Pietersen was “never the right man to captain England” — a position the batsman held only briefly before he and former coach Peter Moores lost their jobs at the start of 2009. Swann is behind only Derek Underwood as England’s most prolific wicket-taking spinner with 255 victims in his 60 Tests.