16 Facts about Harbhajan Singh: The Sardar who never gives up

16 Facts about Harbhajan Singh: The Sardar who never gives up

Harbhajan Singh
Harbhajan Singh . (Photo by Satish Bate/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

Harbhajan Singh – The Turbanator – has been India’s cyclonic spinning phenomenon since the past decade and has produced a number of stunning match-winning efforts for India. Harbhajan has been one of the best off-spinners India have ever produced. In fact, ‘Bhajji’ has been one of the toughest guys in cricket who is never ready to accept defeat and he never gave up. He led the spinning attack for India on a good number of occasions and took the team to a number of glorifying positions.

1.Born on:

Harbhajan Singh was born July 3, 1980 in Jalandhar, Punjab in a Sikh family and is the only brother to five sisters.

2. Early life:

Harbhajan was in line to inherit the family business, but his father insisted that he concentrate on his cricket career and represent India.

3. Start out as a batsman:

Harbhajan was trained as a batsman by his first coach Charanjit Singh Bhullar but switched to spin bowling after his coach’s untimely death saw him turn to the tutelage of Davinder Arora. Arora credits Harbhajan’s success to a work ethic that included a three-hour training session in the morning, followed by an afternoon session lasting from 3 pm until after sunset.

5. The family man:

Following the death of his father in 2000, Harbhajan became the family head, and by 2001 had organised marriages for three of his sisters.

6. First big performance:

Harbhajan broke into the Punjab Under-16s at the age of 15 years and 4 months in November of the 1995–96 season, and took 7/46 and 5/138 on debut against Haryana,

7. Test Debut: 

Harbhajan made his Test debut against Australia in March, 1998 in Bengaluru. He managed to take 2 wickets in the test and India lost the match. He was just 18 years-old when he started his International career.

8. Choppy waters:

The early part of his career as not a smooth ride. The 1999/2000 season was challenging for him. His position in the test team was doubtful. Harbhajan’s domestic numbers were also quite ordinary and ended the season with 46 first-class wickets at 26.23. Disciplinary issues and run-ins with Indian administrators further caused problems for him. Soon, he was overlooked as Murali Kartik, Sunil Joshi, and debutant Sarandeep Singh were entrusted with the spin bowling duties. As the family’s only son, Harbhajan was now obliged to support his mother and unmarried sisters. He contemplated quitting cricket and moving to the United States to drive trucks for a living.

9. Stars in India’s historic wins:

Harbhajan Singh most memorable event has to be his performance in the historic 2001 home series against Australia. He snapped 32 wickets in just three tests, including the first Test hat-trick by an Indian, while none of his team-mates managed more than three.

10. The mercurial 2008:

In 2008, Harbhajan was banned by the ICC and was charged for racial insult towards Andrew Symonds. The ban was later revoked after appeal. Later in 2008 during the first IPL, Harbhajan was banned from the tournament after slapping Sreesanth after a match.

11. Indian Premier League:

Harbhajan Singh was bought by Mumbai Indians in the inaugural edition of the Indian Premier League for USD 850,000. Since then, he has been with the franchise and played a key role in their title wins in 2011 and 2014.

12. Two World Cups to his name:

Harbhajan Singh was a part of two World Cup-winning teams – ICC Twenty20 in 2007 and the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2011.

13. DSP of Punjab Police:

After his performance against Australia in 2001, Punjab Government offered him to become an honorary Deputy Superintendent of Punjab Police.

14. Accolades:

In 2003, he was awarded with the Arjuna Award for Cricket. In 2009, he was conferred the Padma Shri Award.

15. A rare distinction:

He is the 3rd Indian bowler to scalp 400 Test wickets.

16. Batting calibre:

His is the first no. 8 batsman to score back-to-back Test centuries. He achieved this feat in the 2010 home Test series against New Zealand.