West Indies v India, 3rd Test, Dominica, 2nd day

'I have a lot of cricket left in me' - Harbhajan

Sriram Veera at Windsor Park

July 7, 2011

Comments: 37 | Text size: A | A

Harbhajan Singh, who took his 400th Test wicket on Thursday, believes he has age on his side and will strive to achieve something really special in Test cricket. He said that he contemplated quitting cricket after the death of his father in 2000, but is happy now that he has made his family and country proud by becoming only the fourth spinner behind Muttiah Muralitharan, Shane Warne and Anil Kumble to reach the milestone.

"I am happy and honoured to be a part of those greats who have done well for themselves and their respective countries," Harbhajan said. "I am 31 and still have lot of cricket left in me. I have to make sure that I stay fit and achieve something special. It's up to me how badly I want to achieve those things."

Over the years, Harbhajan has gone through some rough times, with his action has been questioned and the controversy involving Andrew Symonds in Australia, but he said the loss of his father was the worst phase of his career.

"There have been quite few bad phases. I have faced lots of ups and downs, mostly downs in my career. Very hardly have I seen ups. I lost my dad which was my worst time, I didn't want to play cricket after that. Somehow, my family convinced me to fulfill dad's dream. Wherever he is sitting today he must be proud that his son has achieved something special today."

Needing seven wickets to get to 400 at the start of this Test series, he said the wait was excruciating. "Obviously, before I came here, I knew that I had 393 wickets. It was at the back of my mind irrespective of whether I wanted to think about it or not. I have worked hard for all these wickets. These last seven wickets made me work harder than ever before. It's over now. It's done. Hopefully, the next 200 will be easier.

Harbhajan Singh is congratulated on his 400th wicket, West Indies v India, 3rd Test, Dominica, 2nd day, July 7, 2011
It took him until the last match of the series, but Harbhajan Singh has reached 400 Test wickets © AFP

"Taking 400 wickets is something special. Not many have done it. I am happy with what God has given me. I have enjoyed my journey and I would like to thank all my team-mates since 1998." He proceeded to name a range of cricketers including Anil Kumble, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Javagal Srinath, Venkatesh Prasad, MS Dhoni, Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh and Narendra Hirwani, who, he said, was a great motivator.

He talked about some of his memorable dismissals and the best batsmen he has bowled at. "There have been quite few dismissals. My first wicket was Greg Blewett; I bowled him. Then I got Michael Hussey in Bangalore, it was a doosra and he left it from outside off and it came in a long way. Even I was surprised, I have only seen Muttiah Muralitharan bowl that kind of delivery. I have enjoyed the challenge of bowling to great batsmen like [Ricky] Ponting - though I have taken his wicket many times he remains a great batsman - [Matthew] Hayden, Brian Lara, Steve Waugh."

Harbhajan also mentioned how Tendulkar had helped him with his bowling. "Whenever I bowl to him in the nets, I ask him what is happening and what I should be looking to do on wickets like these. Wherever we are touring, whether it is in Australia or New Zealand, I take his advice. He showed me how to bowl the slider. It is very useful in ODIs, as well as Test cricket. I've got a couple of wickets with that ball. You hold the ball like an off-spinner, but you release it with one finger, so it just goes like an out-swinger. But it can happen only with the new ball, so for that I have to come on early and bowl with a newish ball."

He also spoke about some of the best close-in fielders with whom he has worked. "Shiv Sunder Das was really special for India. He took some brilliant catches in that series against Australia. And I can't forget my dear friend from Tamil Nadu, Sadagoppan Ramesh. He generally liked to sleep a lot, but that day he was awake and took that blinder ... his catch to dismiss Shane Warne was brilliant. I still have to give him a treat for that. I promised him that some day I will take him out for dinner for taking that catch. And on a serious note, Das was brilliant, Aakash Chopra was also outstanding. Pujara was also very good in South Africa. There have been a lot of guys, but these three will definitely stand out. Rahul Dravid is obviously special in the slips. He has taken more than 50 catches off my bowling and I hope that he picks up another 50 in the future."

Sriram Veera is a staff writer at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by CricFan78 on (July 10, 2011, 8:23 GMT)

kezzajakes india's bowling attack horrible, no wonder they have 3 bowlers in top 10 of ICC Test bowler rankings

Posted by donda on (July 10, 2011, 7:31 GMT)

Great achievement by Harbhi what ever fans of cricket say about him but the way he bowled in 2001 series against Australia and took 33 wickets in 3 matches still makes him a legend bowler considering breaking Australian 16 match streak.

No body rate him as a legend but he was unbelievable on that tour of 2001. If i was given a chance i would pick that bowling spells over any bowling in my life.

Keep it up bhaji.

Posted by   on (July 9, 2011, 13:05 GMT)

Its surprising Gangulys name is not included in the list of people who have inspired Bhajji.

Posted by kezzajakes on (July 9, 2011, 8:08 GMT)

psyclops222- all i want is a revolution for cricket. We can't be living in the past and when we only start applying what i have talked about, then India can win more matches. Let's face it, India's bowling attack is horrible! Like Yogi says, "Share your strengths, not your weaknesses." Our strength is batting and let's bat them out. Our allrounders are as good as our bowlers. Let's be honest here! This is my view, get my proposed line up and post a huge score and then let the opposition bat twice! Muski- you are wrong- I doubt Steyn goes around telling people his secrets. I doubt he would say, "Hey Ishant, come here buddy, i'll give you some pointers so in the future you will be able to get my team out". NO this is not going to happen. People just don't give away secrets or pointers just for the sake of it. IPL gives no indication on the ability of a test cricketer. It is just a 20/20 match where bowlers can put everything into 4 overs. I rest my case!

Posted by   on (July 9, 2011, 3:03 GMT)

Bhaji came out as someone normal .... I used to think him as someone who could speak .... TRUE and BOLD ........ but no mention of Dada showed it all !!

Posted by m_ilind on (July 8, 2011, 16:32 GMT)

He is more of a support bowler now! living on his reputation!

Posted by kanishkazico on (July 8, 2011, 15:55 GMT)

exactly! Sourav brought him in and backed him, surprisingly no mention of him. Bhajji is not a great bowler but a good bowler with a big heart, if he can't get wickets more often than he does, he has to keep contributing more often with the bat atleast to justify his selection, i would still take 3 wickets and 0 run from him in each test innings over 1 wicket and 30 runs

Posted by anurag1641983 on (July 8, 2011, 15:42 GMT)

More or less every one mentioned ABOUT DADA "The TIGER"......that Bhajji Forgot.........BTH Congrats Bhajji.

Posted by KAIRAVA on (July 8, 2011, 13:39 GMT)

Yeah, no more of SAURAV GANGULY by Bhajji. Very surprising & strange given that he was Bhajji's strongest supporter while SS Das & Ramesh gets wholesome coverage, in here. UPDATES: SS Das it is sad to hear that he was dropped from Orissa Ranji team last season after string of low scores and he was just 32 at the time. On Ramesh, he gets to play for India seniors and has even acted in a couple of Tamil movies.

Posted by bharathere on (July 8, 2011, 12:39 GMT)

Interesting that he did not mention anything about Saurav Ganguly!!

Posted by indyarox on (July 8, 2011, 11:20 GMT)

Not a great bowler but a good bowler with a big heart. Greatness is in mind. As long as you keep trying your best with a lil bit of talent and lots of hardwork you can achieve anything. Bhajji needs to control his mind and focus on his strengths.

Posted by Zycr9 on (July 8, 2011, 10:37 GMT)

Bhajji.. Congrats on wonderful milestone and achievement. You were always that die hard cricketer with a big heart and fierce fighting spirit. I remember your brilliant catch at the boundary in one ODI. You are one of 3 dimensional cricketers in the Indian team who served country with pride and heart on your sleeves.. Your bowling was always terrific with doosra's floaters, fast ones and of course conventional off spin and you also have that ability to make the ball spin and bounce from good length making the batsman dance awkwardly. 400 is wonderful achievement and I hope you cross many more milestones in coming years. You are excellent bowler, great team man , very important lower order batsman, superb fielder and most of all FIT cricketer. India is proud to have a cricketer like you. Forget all bad things and concentrate on your bowling , batting. You can achieve something really special under Dhoni's captaincy. You are in safe hands. Thanks alot for playing with spirit. Hats off

Posted by   on (July 8, 2011, 10:22 GMT)

Congratulations Bhajji, the great. All the best for your future. I wish you break the record of Murli. You are simply a lion hearted man. You are a great servant of Indian cricket. I wish you play up to the age of 45 and create your own records which other bowlers would wish to break.

Posted by jatinkataria on (July 8, 2011, 10:08 GMT)

no mention of DADA??? i think Bhajji should be greatful to him ahead of Narendra Hirwani and Rajesh Chauhan in the 2000 Aussie series...

Posted by   on (July 8, 2011, 10:05 GMT)

I am a fan of bhajji. Though he had bad phase (every cricketer will face this kind of situation in their cricketing arena) he has over come and and congradulations on achieiving this magic figure of 400 wickets. hope he would soon achieive 450 wickets mile stone very soon. . Pray almighty to bless him with more honours and make our country pride

Posted by VENKATASAIPRAVEEN on (July 8, 2011, 9:49 GMT)

Yeah !! Congrats to Bhajji first ....He is probably India's greatest spinner after Anil Kumble....

Posted by Vijay_MatchWinner on (July 8, 2011, 9:08 GMT)

Bhajji rocks. Super achievement. Well done :)

Posted by Quazar on (July 8, 2011, 8:17 GMT)

Congrats to Harbhajan! A tremendous competitor with ball as well as bat. May he be at his very best in England with both.

Posted by   on (July 8, 2011, 8:12 GMT)

Yes, Bhajji forgot to thank Sourav Ganguly I guess..It was in his captaincy that we became such a Superstar of Indian Cricket

Posted by jagan77 on (July 8, 2011, 8:06 GMT)

Congrats bajjjjj, But we do expect much much more from you cause of the standards you set yourself in THAT series against australia. I dont know of any bowler who has taken 13 wickets in a test match and still hasnt got the MOM. BUT LAX DESERVED IT ON EVERY COUNT. That was the match you set your standards. Since you had the BIG B kumble on your side we were content withyou playing second fiddle. We expected much more from you since BIG B of cricket, kumble retired. You did try to be there, but no where near to YOUR standards and our expectations. SORRY BHAJJJJJJJ to be harsh. WE LOVE YOU, WE WANT YOU TO ACHIEVE WHAT YOU ARE CAPABLE OF. We would love to see you start AGAIN. Irrespective of what happens from now on, YOU ARE GREAT TO ME. Would love to see you bowl again without pressure and succeed. Hope you start again with ENG and reach the top 3-5 bowlers in the world. Would be more than happy if you could touch the 800, its in your hands and you are CAPABLE. lOVE YOU BHAJJJJJ.

Posted by BULTY on (July 8, 2011, 7:38 GMT)

Congrats Bhajji on your achievement of 400 wickets in Test Cricket. It is a great achievement considering only 11 (including Bhajji) have got to it. It is like the 10000 run mark for batsmen in Test Cricket. The achievement is greater in the light of the fact that Bhaji played for most of his formative years as an under study to Anil Kumble and he has taken only 96 matches to complete 400 wickets. He needs to keep his patience and more importantly his temperament under control to prolong his career in Test Cricket and come as near to Anil Kumble in the remaining years of his career. Once again hats off to the "Turbanator" of many a great batsmen in Test cricket.

Posted by bharath74 on (July 8, 2011, 7:32 GMT)

Harbhajan is a fighter just like Sourav

Posted by moidu123 on (July 8, 2011, 7:16 GMT)

Achvmnt of bajji purly on luck,as a crkt fan i hve nt seen any gud prfmnce frm him aftr 2001 aus series,he is a normal plyr who got much luck for hangng around the team withot any performance,he may achve more than ths by hngg around,like say whn u plyd 14 yrs of crkt n 96 tests obviously u can achve more,and whn u gets oppnnts lyk bangla,windies,nz and dayby day the qlty is going down in crkt,the prob of crkt is their no strong opponents,so dnt be get surprsd whn bajji gets 100 wkt also,he hasa gud chnce to hang around for 10 yr more,othr issue is bcz of hm we r nt allow to see other spnnrs plyng india also

Posted by --.-- on (July 8, 2011, 6:39 GMT)

Of course. I not only enjoy his bolwing but batting too/

Posted by gestapo on (July 8, 2011, 5:36 GMT)

u r a player with a big heart and great spirit which is unquestionable,,ur form dips now and then,,but ur spirit and commitment are undoubtable,,get 600 at least,,u r just 31 and ur best phase has just started.,,am sure u will keep going.

Posted by Johnjoy on (July 8, 2011, 5:27 GMT)

Well.... Ganguly must deserve more credit to believe in Bajji and get him into the team....!! Well done Dada and Bajji...!!!

Posted by   on (July 8, 2011, 5:21 GMT)

congrats to Harbajan for fulfilling this milestone. He has played tremendously well over the years and he is rated as one of the top rated spinners in the Cricketing world. Al the best to him and hope he continue his success in the years to come.

Posted by   on (July 8, 2011, 4:42 GMT)

Amongst all the cricketers currently playing,Harbhajan is the HIGHEST wicket taker in the world!! Vettori at 345 wickets and Zaheer at 271 wickets occupy the 2nd and 3rd place respectively (in terms of current players with most number of wickets) !!

Posted by   on (July 8, 2011, 4:30 GMT)

Few years ago in an interview, Bhajji said a thing about himself which is very true. "I am not a great bowler. But I have a Big Heart. I will keep trying". I think by the time he decides to hang his boots, he would be a fine bowler than he is now. Greatness is just a fine line. And he is on the brink of it. Well '400' done Bhajji. Keep going.

Posted by   on (July 8, 2011, 4:17 GMT)

Well Done Bhaji.. Keep up the good work and would love you to cross that magic 800 soon. I think you should personally thank DADA for believing in you and his continuous support and fighting all odds for picking you for 2001 Kolkata test match.. Anyways we are all really proud of you and love to see going all the way (801)....

Posted by himanshu.team on (July 8, 2011, 3:55 GMT)

Hi Bhajji,

really pleased to see you acheive this feat. One word of advice though, be patient!. I always feel if you remain patient and just focus on your strengths, you can take many more wickets. Keep the focus and you could end up achieving what no other bowler has ever done.

Posted by   on (July 8, 2011, 3:52 GMT)

I am sorry but Anil Kumble is the best spinner of the current generation

Posted by   on (July 8, 2011, 3:38 GMT)

Bhajji Pa....congratulations on the achievement....I will wait for the day you reach the 1000 wickets milestone.... All the best for the rest of the journey!!!

Posted by S.N.Singh on (July 8, 2011, 3:12 GMT)


Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (July 8, 2011, 3:02 GMT)

Bhajji don't mind the dogs barking at your wonderful achievement. You are TRUE INDIAN who plays the game out of sincerity and passion. I am proud to be an Indian cause of guys such as yourself, Dhoni, Tendulkar, Dravid etc and that list goes on and on. Our country has produced gems like yourself. I do agree I am disappointed with your bowling lately but I am sure you have a lot to offer to India. Congrats and WELL DONE !!!

Posted by   on (July 8, 2011, 2:55 GMT)

buraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa..weel done Bhaji.....u rock........the best available spinner in india at present........

Posted by Indus_vvsfan on (July 8, 2011, 2:33 GMT)


thx a lot for many special performances. We came to watch you in Jamaica, we were right next to the dressing room, in the stands above where a lot of Indians were sitting....hope you get to 1000 test wickets man.

Just focus on your bowling, please don't lose heart if you don't get wickets, and please don't bowl fast and flat, give it tons of air, and you will get that deadly loop and then you will be the bhajji that is feared the most the "Turbanator" of 2001...long live Bhajji and his parents must surely be proud of him. :o)

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