Everything is an experience: Harbhajan
Chennai, Sep 10: He has opened the bowling and has even finished games with the bat for his team. Harbhajan Singh was an integral part of the Indian team for over a decade, until last year. After being excluded from the side, Bhajji, as he is fondly known, went back to where it all began. He honed his skills in the domestic circuit and tirelessly plied his trade in County Cricket to attempt a comeback in the national side. And now, thanks to all his efforts, the experienced campaigner has been recalled to the top flight ahead of the 2012 ICC World Twenty20.
While discussing the upcoming tournament, to be held later this month in Sri Lanka, Harbhajan said, “In Twenty20, spinners have been successful because a lot of players are looking to score runs whenever a spinner comes on to bowl. The spinners are going to play a key role in this competition in Sri Lanka. We have got quality spinners in the side and we will definitely try and beat other teams with that skill. Most teams have mainly one good spinner; only Pakistan have Saeed Ajmal and Shahid Afridi. Those two are very good spinners and they bowl very well in tandem. But apart from them I don’t see many other teams with that advantage."
Indian cricket fans will be hoping that the Turbanator does just as well as he did when he returned to the Indian side in 2001. His comeback then, against Australia after a one-year lay-off, had earned him the nickname Turbanator.
Speaking to bcci.tv, Harbhajan talked about the hard yards he had to put in to reclaim his spot in Team India.
On his stint in County cricket
I played the IPL and after that there was hardly any cricket in India so I thought I might as well give myself a chance to go there and play some competitive cricket. I think that was probably the best decision that I have made. Sitting at home and doing nothing wouldn’t have taken me anywhere. The county stint was important for me to come back in the side. The only way I could have given myself a chance to perform was [by playing] in county cricket. That was the time when English cricket was on so it was right time for me to go there. I really enjoyed over there and bowled lots of overs, which always helps a bowler to get into the groove
It is quite competitive and it’s not easy. You play five days and at times, even six days in a week. There is a lot of hard work; you have to travel on your own, live on your own and manage everything by yourself. It was a good experience.
On coping with the pressure of making a comeback
I have played for many years to [be able to] cope with that pressure. I have been through those pressure situations many times in my life and in my cricketing career. But as a cricketer nothing can get better than playing for the country and doing things that you want to do. This is an opportunity and I have worked very hard to make a comeback. Now, I will just go out and enjoy the game, something that I have been doing all these years. I'll continue to do what is important for the team and look to enjoy each and every moment. Everything is an experience. The pressure is going to be there whether you play your first game or the 100th game for your country. That’s what we like about this game. I am looking forward to it and hopefully I will have a good time.
On contributing with the bat
It’s always good to contribute with the bat when you're a No.8 or No.9 batsman so that you are always in the game. I have been practicing very hard and for the last three-four years I have taken my batting really seriously. I have scored important runs for the Indian team and hopefully I can do more of the the same in this competition and also in the longer formats going forward. Whenever I get the opportunity, I like to contribute with the ball and with the bat and that’s what I live for.
On whether he has made any changes
Not really. Now, I probably just look to enjoy the game more.