India in Australia 2007-08 March 7, 2008

'It was as if it was Harbhajan v Australia'

Cricinfo staff


Harbhajan Singh: "I can understand the [Australian] public wanting to support their team but I made them realise that I also played cricket the tough way" © Getty Images
 

Harbhajan Singh, embroiled in more than one controversy during India's tour of Australia, has, in separate newspaper interviews, criticised the Australian team for being "arrogant" and has also come out strongly against Matthew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist.

This trip, he told the Hindu, was the most challenging of his career. "It was as if the series was Harbhajan Singh versus Australia."

Harbhajan was charged with - and subsequently cleared - making a racist remark at Andrew Symonds and said he was upset when Hayden and Gilchrist both supported Symonds.

He was quoted by the Delhi-based tabloid Mail Today calling Hayden "a big liar", though he later denied those comments. The paper also quoted him as saying Gilchrist was "not a saint".

He was, however, all praise for Brett Lee, saying he was different from his team-mates. "Lee never spoke in the same manner as the rest of his team-mates. He never uttered any nonsense to us and kept visiting our dressing-room even after Sydney," he said.

"I had always wanted to do well against Australia. We were all proud of ourselves that we did well in Australia. They are a dominating team but I have had a good record against them. I had to match their aggression and that is what I did."

According to Harbhajan, it wasn't just the Australian players, but also the public and the press, who were against the Indian team. "I can understand the public wanting to support their team but I made them realise that I also played cricket the tough way. I was not in Australia to make friends. I was there to play for my country and win. And win we did."