Harbhajan Singh sliced through line-ups in his pomp. Now, he stares at a landmark in his comeback Test.
The 32-year-old Harbhajan will play his 100th Test when the India-Australia contest begins at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium here on Friday. “It has been a long journey. And there have been ups and downs. This will be a big moment for me here,” he said on Thursday.
The off-spinner, who has 408 wickets in 99 Tests at 32.27, has been an influential bowler in the longest format. Indeed, he has 25 five-wicket innings and five 10-wicket match hauls.
Interestingly, Harbhajan began his career against Mark Taylor’s Australia in the Bangalore Test of 1998. “I was so young and I was looking at so many greats cricketers next to me in the dressing room,” he recalled. That was a long time ago.
He had special words to say about his spin partner for long Anil Kumble, the only other Indian spinner to feature in 100 Tests or more. The two formed a destructive combination as India swept past opponents at home.
“It was great to have Anil bhai in the team. He was one guy who never gave up. Even in his 30th over, he would bowl with the same intensity. I used to see him and wondered why I could not do the same thing. That kept me pushing myself harder,” said Harbhajan.
Harbhajan’s home Test record of 260 wickets in 53 Tests at 28.53 is a commendable one. His overall Test numbers against Australia — 90 scalps in 16 Tests at 29.35 — is impressive too even if all his destructive displays against the men in baggy green have come on home soil.
Although the side missed the greats from the past, the present Australian team could not be taken lightly, felt Harbhajan. “They play their cricket hard and keep coming at you.”