Updated: Sat, 25 Dec 2021 01:12 PM IST
New Delhi | Jagran Sports Desk: Harbhajan Singh, one of the finest spinners who ever played the gentleman's game for India, announced his retirement from all forms of cricket on Friday. Announcing his retirement, the 41-year-old 'Turbanator' of Indian cricket also opened up about his "unfulfilled wish" and said that he wanted to retire in the Indian jersey, but "destiny had other plans" for him.
"Talking about my cricket career, the first time when I felt the happiest was when I took the hat-trick in Kolkata, becoming the first India cricketer to take a hat-trick in Test cricket. I also took 32 wickets in 3 Tests in that series, a record that is still withstanding," Harbhajan said in a video shared on YouTube.
Harbhajan, the first Indian to claim a Test hat-trick, had last donned the Indian jersey in 2016 when he played a T20I game against the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Dropping Harbhajan from the Indian squad, especially in the white-ball format, was questioned by many cricket pundits. Now, the 41-year-old has also opened up about his annexation from the Indian team.
In an exclusive interview with Dainik Jagran, Harbhajan expressed his disappointment after getting dropped from the team even after claiming 400 Test wickets. He said that he tried to contact several officials about his annexation, but nobody told him why he was dropped from the team.
"Now the person who has taken 400 Test wickets will not go before the selectors and ask why he was not selected. Have I suddenly lost my appearance or my bowling has deteriorated or what has happened that you are not choosing me at all? There was no answer to this," Harbhajan said.
"The man who has taken 400 Test wickets does not need to spread his hand in front of others. Later, I was selected in the T20I squad but I travelled with the team only as a 'tourist'. After 2011-12, things turned different for me. Although I was performing consistently in the IPL, I was never picked in the team and when I was picked up, I was not given a chance in the playing XI."
When asked about Ravichandran Ashwin's recent remarks on 'retirement' and how he made up his mind to hang up his booths, the veteran India spinner said that he could have easily taken 500-550 wickets in Test cricket had he played the game for three to four years more. Harbhajan stressed that he needed more support from the team management which was not given to him.
"There comes a time when you must give players the respect they deserve. I would like to say that after 2001-02 the support that Sourav Ganguly gave to me was tremendous, but there was no such support after 2012. I would have easily taken 550 wickets in Tests," Harbhajan told Dainik Jagran.
Harbhajan particularly credited Ganguly for his success in international cricket and expressed hopes that the former India captain will be able to solve the feud between current Test skipper Virat Kohli and the Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI).
"I know Ganguly, he is a very clean person. He is a solid person. He is a person who believes in unity. The credit for the change in the map of Indian cricket goes to him," Harbhajan told Dainik Jagran. "After the match-fixing scandal, people lost faith in cricket, but the way he led the team and the kind of team he built, it shows what a person he is capable of. He is the kind of person who will stand up for you. I will always be indebted to him."