Harbhajan Singh is working on his comeback. “I know nothing other than playing cricket,” the off-spinner said. He is looking forward to his stint with Essex and hopes to “make the most of it” to stay firm on the comeback trail.
With 406 Test wickets and 459 ODI scalps, Harbhajan will play his first match for Essex on July 12. “There is no cricket here. As a professional, I must stay fit and I am sure I’ll hit bowling rhythm soon. County cricket offers four-day cricket and at this time of the year it will help if I get to bowl a lot of overs. This match practice will help me do well in Tests.”
Harbhajan, who turned 32 on Monday, last played a Test almost a year ago. His last ODI appearance was in June 2011. “Match practice is always good. It means good competition and the county format is good for my style. The pressure to perform will be less and it will be great to meet players from different countries.”
No doubt, county cricket offers a challenge of a different kind. “For a spinner, a role in county can be very challenging. The conditions are different, they may or may not suit your style, and you have to keep learning and adapting all the time. Every day you are learning and I am looking forward to grab the chances.”
He has his task cut out. “I will concentrate on doing well. I have always enjoyed my stints on the field and nothing disappoints me. A bad performance will be followed by a good one and I intend to give my best and help Essex climb the table. Old-timers always told us to play more and more cricket on the field. It is better than bowling in the ‘nets’ and that is why I think this county stint will help me.”
Listing his approach, Harbhajan said, “I need to play at this point of my career. There is a lot of Test cricket coming up and I should be ready. When there is no cricket, one spends time with family and friends but then it is cricket that I know best.”
The off-spinner confessed he was inspired by Sri Lankan great Muttiah Muralitharan’s work ethic. “I give myself five more years of competitive cricket and I don’t intend to do anything now that I shall regret later. I must use the time available. I learnt it from Murali. He told me he would play each and every game in whatever format. I have his example before me and will try and make the most of it.”
Harbhajan asserted television appearances in reality shows were not his priority. “I may have some talent in singing and dancing but that’s not me. I am known for my cricket and that’s what I know best. I am working hard on my comeback and want to contribute to making India get the No. 1 position. My best is yet to come really.”