Bhajji – The Fighter
Cricket is not a sport in India but can be termed religion as it has transcended all the barriers and unites people and society alike beyond the boundaries of region or religion. There are many legends and heroes who made India proud with their success and serve as inspiration to the upcoming youth in the sport of cricket. We will look into the cricketing life of one such legend, Harbhajan Singh, the legendary spinner.
Harbhajan Singh was born in a large Sikh family and is the youngest of them all. With five elder sisters and being the only son, he was pampered a lot in his childhood. He had the option of taking up his father’s business but with encouragement from his father, he pursued cricket and wanted to fulfill the dream of his father to play for India. He rose ranks as a kid very fast and created a buzz with his unique style of spin bowling and was turning the cricket ball like a banana. Then came the blow of his life when his father died in 2000 coinciding his international entry, but this did not deter him to achieve his dream and at the same did not forego the responsibility of the family of five sisters.
Did Not Start That well
His foray into foreign soil did not start well as in his first tour to Australia, he did not get to play a single match and was battered in the lone tour match. He returned home disappointed but this fired him up more. He was overlooked for some time as there were other spinners who were performing well in the domestic circuit but the Border-Gavaskar trophy of 2001 changed his fortune and yielded the results of his hard work and dedication.
Ganguly, The Finder
With the support of the then captain Saurav Ganguly, he turned tables both for himself and the Indian Cricket where he demolished the Australian batsmen and almost single-handedly won the series for India, more so with the absence of bowling spearheads Kumble and Srinath. The success story continued and became the spin wrecker-in-chief in combination with Anil Kumble. However, this did not last long as he was reported a couple of times for suspicious action. This then was gossipped as a ploy by the Australians to counter him as they were unable to get over his wizardry spin. That was the time when he was just mastering the Doosra, or the ball that goes the other way. He was sent to Australia to correct his action and spent some time in the sidelines. Eventually, his action was corrected but he lost some of the zip that he had with the spin.
Useful Bat Down The Line
He was no mug with the bat and would often come lower down the order and make some quick runs to help the team. His lusty blows were often remembered. He somehow managed to hit enormous sixes for a lean man. He won many a match with this skill of big-hitting.
Not The One To Bow Down
What most stands out in him is his fighting spirit and never-say-die attitude. He never minced words when it comes to sledging and never let anyone get the upper hand with their verbal duals. Be it the issue with Symmonds, Sreesanth, or others, he would never let his self-respect down but would never cross the line and was never the first one to start the verbal war.
Though he was in and out of the Indian time post the action rectification (sometimes unjustifiably), he never showed his frustration publicly. His courage to speak the truth and at the same time never hurt anybody shows how truthful he is and did not let the riches of success get onto his head.
Many of us may not know that he is the roommate of choice for many players of his era. Sachin Tendulkar always wanted Bhajji as his roommate and publicly once said that he is a fan of Harbhajan’s sense of humor. This comes as a bit of a surprise as he always looks focused and serious on the field.
With his almost rags to riches success story, he stands an example to emulate for his hard work, dedication, selflessness, courage, teamwork, and most importantly not letting his guard drop even during the toughest of times. Though his figures do not speak that great, he stands out as one of the tallest figures of India Cricket for his sheer gutsiness and fighting spirit.
He recently announced his retirement from all forms of cricket and we will all miss him on the cricket pitch.