Veteran off-spinner Harbhajan Singh has said it was Sachin Tendulkar’s advice early on in his career that helped him focus on the game much more as he took off from there to become one of the great off-spinners in world cricket.
“During my starting days, Sachin told me after a net session that keep your focus on the game. From that day, I really started focusing on my game all the more and I soon made my India debut,” Harbhajan, India’s third highest Test wicket-taker, told former teammate and opener Aakash Chopra on his YouTube show AakashVani.
Harbhajan made his Test debut in 1998 but really came to the fore during India’s home series against Australia where Sourav Ganguly’s side miraculously beat the mighty Aussies 2-1 which included the memorable Eden Gardens second Test win.
The Australians had arrived in India on the back of 15 consecutive wins and after beating India in Mumbai, the hosts snatched victory from the jaws of defeat at Eden and then in Chennai also they won to bag the series 2-1.
Harbhajan finished the series with a whopping 32 wickets, including a hat-trick in the Eden Test.
“Winning against that Australian team was special. We learnt a lot from that series,” Harbhajan said.
“As a player, I will rate 2001 series against Australia at the top spot as it made me the player I am today, if I look at my childhood dream, I always wanted to win the World Cup and it came true in 2011 so I will keep it at par with the 2001 series,” Harbhajan said.
“Winning the T20 World Cup in 2007 was unbelievable, when we landed back in India, we got a huge amount of support, I have never seen anything like that before, I would not be able to rate these three moments as all are very special to me,” he added.
The 39-year-old veteran off-spinner has so far played 103 Tests and 236 ODIs for India in which he has scalped 417 and 269 wickets respectively. Besides, he has alo played 28 T20Is in which he has picked 25 wickets. His last appearance for India came in a T20I game against UAE in 2016.