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Harbhajan Singh Retirement: Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, Tendulkar Tribute Harbhajan Singh International Retirement



Delhi: India’s cricket fraternity raised a toast to veteran off-spinner Harbhajan Singh as he called time on his illustrious career on Friday, with BCCI president Sourav Ganguly, Team India head coach Rahul Dravid, batting legend Sachin Tendulkar describing his journey a fulfilling one. Ganguly congratulated just-retired Harbhajan on a glorious career, saying the one aspect of the off-spinner that inspired him the most was his “hunger to perform”.Also Read – Harbhajan Singh Reveals Difference Between Sourav Ganguly vs MS Dhoni’s Captaincy, Says ‘Forever Indebted’ to BCCI President For Shaping His Career

Harbhajan Singh called time on his career on Friday after an illustrious 23-year stint in international cricket. During his career, he won two World Cups — the inaugural ICC World T20 in 2007 and then the ODI World Cup in 2011. He took 417 wickets in 103 Tests, 269 wickets in 236 ODIs, and 25 scalps in 28 T20Is. Also Read – IND vs SA: KL Rahul Calls Ajinkya Rahane Key Member of Test Squad, Drops Hints About Team India’s Playing 11 For 1st Test vs South Africa

“I congratulate Harbhajan Singh on a remarkable career. He has faced several challenges in his life, but Bhajji is not the one to give up. He has overcome many hurdles and put many setbacks behind him to rise every time. What inspired me the most about him was his hunger to perform,” Ganguly said in a BCCI statement. Also Read – SA vs IND: Playing at Home Obviously Gives us Little Bit of an Upper Hand, Says Dean Elgar

“His strength was his guts and courage. He was always very passionate, and his immense self-belief meant he never shied away from a fight. He also kept the dressing room atmosphere light and that is something really important,” added the former captain, who had lot of faith in Harbhajan’s abilities and brought him back during that epic series against Australia in 2001.

Ganguly rated Harbhajan’s breath-taking performance against Australia as one of the best, saying the off-spinner was always a “captain’s delight”. “His first full Test series against Australia in 2001 is the greatest that I have seen where one bowler single-handedly won the series. He was purely captain’s delight.”

“As a bowler, he hated putting fielders in the deep. Bhajji has been an absolute match-winner. He should be proud of what he has achieved. I want to tell him that the new innings in his life will be as exciting.”

A fierce competitor, Harbhajan ended his glittering career as the fourth-highest wicket-taker from India in Tests with 417 wickets and fifth among Indian bowlers in ODIs with 269 scalps.

Having debuted in 1998 against Australia in Bengaluru first as a 17-year-old, Harbhajan represented the country for close to two decades. He featured in the elite 100-Test club and is only the second Indian spinner after Anil Kumble to have played over 100 Tests for India.

He holds the honour of being the first Indian to take a Test hat-trick when he dismissed Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist and Shane Warne in successive balls in the famous 2001 Kolkata Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

His astonishing match tally of 13/196 helped the team to a stunning victory as India became only the third team to win a Test after being forced to follow on.

Harbhajan also played a key role in helping India win the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007 and was later instrumental in India becoming the first team to win a World Cup at home in 2011.

“Harbhajan Singh has had a phenomenal career with Team India. He has been a part of many memorable victories both at home and away. He played his cricket with grit and passion and wore his heart on his sleeve. His fighting spirit and his zeal to perform for India when the team was under pressure is something that always stood out,” BCCI secretary Jay Shah said.

“His presence on the field lifted everyone’s morale. While he played a major role with the ball, picking up wickets aplenty, it must be remembered that he has also played some crucial knocks with the bat, helping us get over the line. I wish him the best for all his future endeavours and wish to see him being closely associated with the game.”

Recalling the innumerable memorable moments he shared with Harbhajan, batting icon Tendulkar wished the 41-year-old good luck for his “doosra phase.” “What a wonderful & fulfilling career, Bhajji! I first met you at India nets in ’95 – over the years, we’ve been part of wonderful memories.

“You have been a great team man, playing with all your heart. Both on the field and off it – it is always fun to have you as part of any team. I cannot forget all those moments of laughter,” Tendulkar wrote.

“You have done your best for India in your long career, we are all very proud of you. Wishing you happiness and success in the ‘doosra’ phase of your career,” he added.

India head coach Rahul Dravid said that the hallmark of Harbhajan’s career has been his fighting qualities.
“Harbhajan had many ups and downs in his career but he has always come out fighting. Great competitor and a great team man, someone you wanted to go to battle with. Obviously, one of those great performers for India,” Dravid told bcci.tv.

“To be a great sort of partner along with Anil Kumble, part of so many of our great wins during that period, its pleasure and privilege to play alongside him. Hughlight of BHajji’s career was 32 wickets and just to see the way he came back after being dropped from the team, the way he carried that attack in absence of Anil Kumble was phenomenal,” the ‘Wall’ said.




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