On December the 24th, Indian ace-spinner Harbhajan Singh announced his retirement. The bowler in his nearly 23 years of career scalped 711 wickets at the International level. Harbhajan came into the limelight when he took 32 wickets, including a hat-trick against the Australians in the unforgettable 2001 test series. The series will always be remembered as one of the best series ever played for the way India came back from a follow-on and not only saved the match but even won it, courtesy of Dravid’s 180, Laxman’s 281
Harbhajan became the first Indian to take a hattrick in the test match. The spinner hasn’t played for India for the last 5 years and since has been involved as a match analyst and commentator for host broadcasters of the India series. Now Virat Kohli and Rahul Dravid have paid tribute to the legendary off-spinner.
Harbhajan was involved in a fair share of controversies. He was accused of making racial abuse to Symonds by calling him a monkey. The off-spinner denied the allegations but was suspended by then match Mike Proctor for three test matches. The Indian team in retaliation threatened to leave the tour and soon afterward, the ban was upheld. India made a comeback in Perth but ultimately lost the series by 2-1. They came back strongly and won the ODI series though under the captainship of Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Then there was the 2008 IPL incident where Sreesanth was seen crying on the TV after the match between Mumbai Indians and Kings XI Punjab. Sreesanth alleged that Harbhajan has slapped him after the match.
But even with some controversies, there was never a doubt that Harbhajan Singh was India’s best spinner along with Anil Kumble. Harbhajan was a crucial part of Team Indian in the 2007 T20 World cup. He was also part of the 2011 World Cup-winning team when India won the WC after 28 years.
Autobiography on the way – Harbhajan Singh
Harbhajan has announced that he will be writing in Autobiography soon where he will talk in detail about the 2008 Monkeygate scandal. The off-spinner in one of Youtube programs described that during the verbal incident between Symonds and him, only Sachin Tendulkar was standing nearby who knew a little bit about the exchange of words between him and Symonds whereas the likes of Ponting, Hayden, and Gilchrist went to the match-referee Mike Proctor as witnesses and said that Harbhajan indeed said racially abusive words to Symonds.