Full name Harbhajan Singh
Born July 3, 1980, Jullundur (now Jalandhar), Punjab
Current age 38 years 146 days
Major teams India, Asia XI, Chennai Super Kings, Essex, India Green, Lancashire, Mumbai Indians, Mumbai Indians, Punjab, Surrey
Playing role Bowler
Batting style Right-hand bat
Bowling style Right-arm off break
Early years and personal life
Harbajan Singh was born into a Sikh family. He is the only son of Sardar Sardev Singh Plaha, a businessman who owned a ball bearing and valve factory. Growing up with five sisters, Harbhajan was in line to inherit the family business, but his father insisted that he concentrate on his cricket career and represent India.
Harbhajan was trained as a batsman by his first coach Charanjit Singh Bhullar, but converted 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.
Following the death of his father in 2000, Harbhajan became the family head, and by 2001 had organized marriages for three of his sisters. In 2002 he ruled out his own marriage until at least 2008. In 2005 he again fended off marriage rumours linking him to a Bangalore-based bride, stating that he would only make a decision “after a couple of years”, and that he would be seeking a Punjabi bride selected by his family. In a country where cricketers are idolised, Harbhajan’s performances have brought him government accolades and lucrative sponsorships. Following his performance against Australia in 2001, the Government of Punjab awarded him Rs. 5 lakhs, a plot of land, and an offer to become a Deputy Superintendent of Police in Punjab Police, which he accepted.
Despite having a job with the constabulary, Harbhajan sustained minor injuries in March 2002 in an altercation with police outside the team hotel in Guwahati. The scuffle broke out when Harbhajan remonstrated with officers after they refused to allow a photographer into the hotel. Harbhajan cut his bowling arm and injured his elbow when he was struck by the police. Extensive negotiations from local officials and organizers were required to dissuade Harbhajan and Captain Sourav Ganguly from leaving the area after Ganguly said that the Indian team would abandon the scheduled match against Zimbabwe.
Singh was caught at Auckland airport for failing to declare that he had filthy boots in his luggage. His only excuse was that he “couldn’t be bothered” complying with New Zealand quarantine laws. He was fined $200 on the spot.
One of his common nicknames, outside India, is The Turbanator, deriving from his skill as a bowler in terminating the innings of the opposing team, and the fact that, as a Sikh, he wears a black turban whenever he plays. Among Indians, Harbhajan is more commonly known as bhajji. It was estimated in 2005 that Harbhajan was the most recognised and commercially viable Indian cricketer after Sachin Tendulkar, in part due to his colorful personality and iconic turban, as well as his reputation for enjoying the celebrity social scene. His signing for English county team Surrey in 2005, based at The Oval in London, was partly attributed to his marketability. Harbhajan had generated a large personal following in the western London suburb of South all, which boasts a majority Punjabi Sikh population, when he lived there in 1998 while training under Fred Titmus.
Herbhajan married with Geeta
Early life OF Geeta
Basra was born to Punjabi Indian parents in Portsmouth on the south coast of England, but now resides in Mumbai. She has one younger brother, Rahul.
She studied acting at the Kishore Namit Kapoor Acting Institute.
She was first seen in the Emraan Hashmi-starrer Dil Diya Hai in 2006. Her second release, The Train (2007), was also opposite Hashmi. She played Roma, a working woman who gets caught up in an extramarital affair.
Basra was also seen in the music video for the Suk hinder Shinda and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan song “Ghum Sum Ghum Sum”, playing the love interest of the male protagonist played by Rahul Bhat.
Singh with wife Geeta Basra at Rakesh Roshan’s birthday bash in 2017
In 2006 Harbhajan’s endorsements generated controversy when he appeared without his turban in an advertisement for Royal Stag whisky. This angered many orthodox Sikhs, leading to anti-Harbhajan protests in the Sikh holy city of Amritsar, with effigies of Harbhajan being burnt. The Sikh clergy and Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee demanded an apology from him and asked Seagram’s to withdraw the advert, on the basis that it had “hurt the feelings of Sikhs”. Harbhajan quickly issued an apology, but he was also unhappy at the clergy’s interference, stating “If they were unhappy, they should have called me and talked to me like a son”.
Harbhajan Singh married his longtime girlfriend, actress Geeta Basra, on 29 October 2015 in Jalandhar.
They have a daughter, Hinaya Heer Plaha, born on July 27, 2016 in Portsmouth, Hampshire
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, setting up a nine-wicket win. He scored 56 in his next match against Delhi and then took 11/79 in his third match against Himachal Pradesh, orchestrating an innings win. He ended with 32 wickets at 15.15 and 96 runs at 48.00 in four matches. He was rewarded with selection for North Zone Under-16s, a team that represents all of northern India for a one-day series, in which he took two wickets at 43.50 in four matches and scored 18 runs. At the end of the season, he was called into the national Under-19 team at the age of 15 years and 9 months for a youth One Day International against South Africa. He took 1/19 from seven overs in an Indian win.
In 1996–97, Harbhajan was promoted to the Punjab Under-19s and he took 15 wickets at 20.20 in three matches, although he managed only two runs with the bat. This included match figures of 8/54 in an innings win over Jammu and Kashmir.
Harbhajan made his first-class cricket debut in late 1997 against Services, during the 1997–98 Ranji Trophy season. He took a total of 3/35 in an innings win but was dropped back to the Under-19s the following week. He then took 5/75 and 7/44 in two matches to earn a recall to the senior team. He then took a total of 7/123 in the next two matches for Punjab to earn selection for North Zone in the Duleep Trophy.
Harbhajan’s season was interrupted when he represented India at the Under-19 World Cup in January 1998. He played in six matches, taking eight wickets at 24.75 with a best of 3/5 against Kenya.
Returning to India he played in three more Ranji Trophy matches, and from a total of six matches, he took 18 wickets at an average of 22.50, ranking outside the top 20 in wicket taking. He took a total of 5/131 as North lost to East Zone by five wickets.
Harbhajan played the full 2009 Indian Premier League season in South Africa, taking 12 wickets at 21.33 and an economy rate of 5.81 in 13 matches. He was one of the most economical bowlers in the competition, and took 1/9 in four overs against Punjab to win the man of the match award. He ended the season with 4/17 against Delhi, but it was not enough to prevent a four-wicket defeat.
After injuries, he returned to competitive cricket to lead the Mumbai Indians to 2011 Champions League Twenty20 title, but fell out of favor with the national selectors. He was not chosen in the home series squad against England in October and West Indies in November and December. Mumbai Indians won their first ever championship under his captaincy, winning the Champions League by 31 runs. Harbhajan was man of the match for his contribution.
He went to play the IPL 2012 which was not that successful for him, but took his team to semifinal while being captain. Harbhajan went to play for Essex in England but is not selected for the Sri Lankan tour before the 2012 ICC World Twenty20. In his debut match for Essex against Gloucestershire, Harbhajan did not take any wicket on 12 July 2012, conceding 33 runs in his 12 overs. He was bought by Chennai Super Kings in 2018 after 10 years with Mumbai Indians.
Doorstep to international arena
After taking eight wickets in his next two Ranji matches, Harbhajan was selected to tour Australia in 1999–2000, as the second spinner. He did not play in the Tests, with India opting to field only Anil Kumble in the team. Australia whitewashed India 3–0, and Harbhajan struggled in his only first-class outing against Tasmania, taking 0/141, a portent of future unsuccessful tours to Australia.
Harbhajan was not part of the ODI squad for the Australian tour and upon returning to India in early 2000 needed strong first-class results to maintain his Test position. He went wicketless against Hyderabad, and was selected for the Board President’s XI match against the touring South Africans. He took 2/88 and 2/59 and scored 38 and 39 to prevent the hosts being bowled out and defeated, but was dropped as the second slow bowler, as Murali Kartik became Kumble’s spinning partner. Harbhajan returned to domestic action, taking 24 wickets in Punjab’s remaining four first-class matches. He ended the Indian season with 46 first-class wickets at 26.23.
In mid-2000 an opportunity arose when Harbhajan was selected in the first group of trainees sent to the National Cricket Academy to study under Erapalli Prasanna and Srinivas Venkataraghavan, two off spin bowlers from the Indian spin quartet of the 1970s. However, his behaviour did not conform to requirements, and he was expelled on disciplinary grounds. His sponsorship job with Indian Airlines was also reviewed as a result of his indiscipline. Harbhajan later admitted that he had been at fault earlier in his career.
Following his run-ins with Indian cricket administrators, there was nothing to indicate that Harbhajan’s chances of national selection had improved at the start of 2000–01. Despite Kumble being injured, Harbhajan was again overlooked as Kartik, Sunil Joshi, and debutant Sarandeep Singh were entrusted with the spin bowling duties in Test matches against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe on the subcontinent.
During the first half of the season, still in international exile, Harbhajan continued to pick up wickets on the domestic circuit. In five Ranji Trophy matches, he claimed 28 wickets at 13.96. He claimed 3/29 and 3/39 against Himachal Pradesh, 2/53 and 5/88 against Jammu and Kashmir, 4/77 and 2/33 against Haryana and 5/40 against Services in the first four matches, all of which ended in innings wins for Punjab. He then took a total of 4/32 in a 199-run win over Delhi. Harbhajan’s batting, which had rarely been productive up to this point in his career, also improved. He scored a career-best 84 against Haryana and added 52 against Services, aggregating 207 runs at 51.75. After taking eight wickets at 21.12 in six one-dayers, Harbhajan was selected for North in the Duleep Trophy, but his early-season form deserted him. He took five wickets at 39.00 in two matches, although he did continue his productive run with the bat, scoring 130 runs at 32.50 with three scores above 35.
Despite the superior statistics of other bowlers in domestic cricket, Harbhajan was the selected for the Indian Board President’s XI to play the touring Australian cricket team ahead of the Tests. He managed only 1/127, and was ignored for the first two Tests before being selected to make his Test debut in the Third Test against Australia in Bangalore, where he scored 4 not out and a duck, and recorded the modest match figures of 2/136 as Australia won the match by eight wickets. He was subsequently overlooked for the triangular ODI tournament in India that followed the Tests, involving Zimbabwe in addition to Australia, but was selected for all group matches in the triangular tournament that followed soon after in Sharjah, where he made his ODI debut against New Zealand. He took 1/32 from ten overs on debut as India narrowly won by 15 runs. He then took 3/41 in the next match, a defeat against Australia, but then struggled in the second qualifying match against the same team, taking 1/63 in eight overs. He was subsequently dropped for the final against Australia, which India won, and ended the series with five wickets at 33.20 at an economy rate of 4.36.
1997- Struggling form
Having made little success in this phase of his international career, averaging 37.75 per Test wicket to date, and overlooked by selectors, Harbhajan faced a difficult decision. His father had recently died; 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. After being out of the team for more than 12 months, there was little overt indication of the sudden rise that would occur in his cricketing career only a few months later.
Harbhajan was then omitted from the team during a home triangular ODI tournament against Bangladesh and Kenya, after taking 0/18 from four overs in his only match of the tournament against the former opponent, but was recalled for the Singer Trophy in Sri Lanka and also involving New Zealand. Playing in all five matches, Harbhajan claimed eight wickets at an average of 24.12 and economy of 4.38 in this tournament, taking at least one scalp in each match. Harbhajan was retained for the final and took 1/57, his worst return for the series, in an Indian win. After being omitted for the Sahara Cup series against Pakistan in Toronto, Harbhajan played in a weakened Indian team at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The matches were not given ODI status by the ICC, and India chose to send their better players to the Sahara Cup instead. India won their first two matches against Antigua and Canada, but Harbhajan managed only a total of 1/48 from 11 overs. The Indians then needed to beat a full-strength Australian outfit to win their group and progress to the semi-finals. Harbhajan was punished and went wicketless, conceding 50 runs in eight overs as Australia won by 146 runs, knocking India out of contention.
Recall to the team
Harbhajan was then recalled to the first-choice team and took five wickets at an average of 22.60 at 3.89 runs an over from three matches on a tour to Zimbabwe, in what would prove to be his last ODI appearances for India for more than two years. In all, he took 18 ODI wickets at an average of 27.2 during the 1998.
After taking 2/38 and 3/60 in an innings win in a tour match, Harbhajan was retained in the Test team, taking 2/42 and 3/63 in the only Test on the Zimbabwe tour. He was unbeaten on 15 in the second innings as the final wicket fell and India succumbed to a 51-run defeat.
Returning to India, Harbhajan started the 1998–99 domestic season well, taking 3/54 and 5/39 in an innings win over Services, before following up with 6/69 and 1/93 in the next match against Delhi, claiming his first five-wicket innings haul. He then took 6/63 and scored 31 in the first innings of a match for the Board President’s XI against a touring West Indies A, and was taken on the tour of New Zealand in December. In a tour match against Central Districts, Harbhajan struggled, aggregating 2/112. He only played in one Test during the tour, and went wicketless, conceding 72 runs. Upon returning to India, he took a total of 3/158 for India A in a match against the touring Pakistanis ahead of the Tests. After being omitted for the First Test lost in Chennai, he was recalled for the latter two matches against Pakistan, and took five wickets at 34.60 as the matches were split. He then took 3/127 in a high-scoring draw against Sri Lanka. In all, he claimed 13 wickets at an average of 36.8 in five Tests for the seen. When he was free of international fixtures for the season, he played in the Ranji Trophy matches, claiming 27 wickets at an average of 24.59 in five matches, including his first five-wicket haul at first-class level. He also registered his maiden first-class fifty, scoring an unbeaten 67 against Tamil Nadu cricket team.
Harbhajan took four wickets at 33.00 during the one-dayers during the season and was overlooked for the ODI team for the whole season and missed selection for the 1999 Cricket World Cup. In September 2003, he played for India A in a one-day series against their Australian counterparts in Los Angeles. Harbhajan took eight wickets at 17.00 at 3.77 runs an over in the five matches, with a best of 3/38.
After taking 4/91 against the touring team for the Board President’s XI at the start of the season, Harbhajan managed to retain his Test position for the late 1999 home series against New Zealand, as India fielded a three-pronged spin attack on dusty tracks, taking six wickets at an average of 32.66 as the hosts prevailed 1–0 in the two Tests.
2001 Border-Gavaskar Trophy
Man with black beard in a black turban, wearing navy tracksuit pants, blue T-shirt, follows through after bowling a ball in the cricket nets. His left leg is perpendicular to the ground, and his right leg is raised and bent back at the knee. His right bowling arm has rotated down to his side after releasing the ball.
Harbhajan bowling in the nets.
With Kumble injured before the home series in March 2001 against the visiting Australians, Harbhajan, whose previous best Test figures were only 3/30, was the only capped spinner in the Indian team for the First Test. He had been recalled after captain Sourav Ganguly publicly called for his inclusion in the team. He was to lead the spin attack against an Australian team which had set a world record with 16 consecutive Test victories, and was searching for its first ever series victory on Indian soil since 1969. In a warm-up match for India A, Harbhajan had taken 2/63 and 3/81 against the tourists. Harbhajan started well in the First Test in Mumbai, taking three quick wickets in a spell of 3/8, to reduce Australia to 99/5 in response to India’s first innings of 176. However, a counter-attacking 197-run partnership between Matthew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist in just 32 overs, saw Harbhajan concede 103 runs from his last 17 overs, to end with 4/121. Despite being struck for many sixes into the crowd, it was still Harbhajan’s best statistical analysis at Test level. Australia eventually proceeded to a crushing 10-wicket victory, their sixteenth consecutive Test victory in succession. This test match has been called by many the greatest that has ever been played, in light of the nature of India’s win under difficult circumstances.
With leading paceman Javagal Srinath ruled out of the series with a finger injury during the First Test, the teams met for the Second Test in Kolkata, with an even bigger burden on Harbhajan. Public opinion was skeptical about India’s chances of stopping Australia’s winning streak, with former captain Bishan Bedi lamenting the demise of Indian cricket. Australia were again in control on the first day, having scored 193/1, with Hayden having struck Harbhajan out of the attack. Harbhajan fought back to reduce Australia to 252/7, taking five wickets in the final session, including Ricky Ponting, Gilchrist and Shane Warne in successive balls to become the first Indian to claim a Test hat-trick. After a prolonged wait for the third umpire to adjudicate whether Sadagoppan Ramesh had managed to catch Warne before the ball hit the ground, the near-capacity crowd at Eden Gardens erupted when he was given out. Harbhajan eventually finished with 7/123 as Australia were bowled out for 445. India batted poorly and were forced to follow-on, but a 376-run partnership between V. V. S. Laxman and Rahul Dravid, who batted together for an entire day, allowed India to set Australia an imposing target of 384 to win on the final day. Australia appeared to be safely batting out the match for a draw, until losing 7/56 in the final session, collapsing from 166/3 to be bowled out for 212. Harbhajan claimed four of the wickets, to finish with 6/73 for the innings and a match tally of 13/196. India ended Australia’s 16-match world record winning streak, and became only the third team to win a Test after being forced to follow on (Australia having lost all three of those matches).
The teams arrived in Chennai for the deciding Third Test, and Australia’s batsmen again seized control after winning the toss, reaching 340/3 on the second morning. Then, Australian captain Steve Waugh padded away a delivery from Harbhajan. The ball spun back into Waugh’s stumps, who pushed the ball away with his glove, becoming only the sixth batsman in Tests to be given out “handled the ball”. Waugh’s dismissal instigated another Australian batting collapse, losing 6 wickets for 51 runs to be bowled out for 391, with Harbhajan taking all six in a spell of 6/26, to finish with 7/133. After India’s batsmen gained a first-innings lead of 110, the Australian batsmen were again unable to cope with Harbhajan in the second innings, who took 8/84 to end with match figures of 15/217. India appeared to be heading for an easy victory at 101/2 chasing 155, before losing 6/50 to be 151/8. Harbhajan walked to the crease, and struck the winning runs.
He was named man of the match and man of the series, having taken 32 wickets at 17.03 for the series, when none of his teammates managed more than three. The Wisden 100 study conducted by Wisden in 2002 rated all four of Harbhajan’s efforts in the Second and Third Tests in the top 100 bowling performances of all time, the most for any bowler. He paid tribute to his father, who had died just six months earlier. His performance led to him usurping Anil Kumble’s position as India’s first-choice spinner.
Poor form & returning
Harbhajan’s Test success saw him recalled to the ODI team after more than two years. He was unable to reproduce his Test form against Australia, managing only four wickets at an average of 59.25 and economy rate of 5.04. His best performance was a 3/37 in a 118-run win in the third match, and a cameo batting performance of 46 runs from 34 balls, including three sixes, in a losing run chase in the fourth fixture. He was dropped from the ODI team during a subsequent triangular tournament in Zimbabwe in 2001 after only managing two wickets at 69.00 in four matches although he had been economical at 3.63 runs an over. Harbhajan was also unable to maintain his form in the Test series against Zimbabwe. Harbhajan began the tour well with 13 wickets in two warm-up matches, including a match haul of 10/80 against the CFX Academy, but could not repeat such performances in the Tests. He took eight wickets at 29.12 in the two-Test series, which was drawn 1–1, but did manage to post his first Test half-century, reaching 66 in the First Test in Bulawayo, before scoring 31 in the first innings of the Second Test as the Indian batsmen struggled and ceded their series lead. The Indians subsequently toured Sri Lanka in mid-2001, enjoying spinning wickets similar to those in India. Harbhajan managed to establish himself in the ODI team with eleven wickets at 21.18 at the low economy rate of 3.42 in seven matches in the ODI tournament with the hosts and New Zealand. Ironically however, his best performances, in which he conceded less than 30 runs in his ten overs three times, all ended in Indian defeats. In contrast to his ODI improvement, Harbhajan’s Test form deteriorated further, yielding only four wickets at 73.00 in three Tests, while Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan was named man of the series with 23 wickets, in what was billed as a contest between the world’s two leading off-spinners. With the Tests locked at 1–1 Harbhajan managed only 2/185 in the Third Test as the hosts accumulated 6/610 declared and won by an innings. He scored 79 runs at 15.80 for the series.
Harbhajan was omitted from the Indian team in favor of Kumble as the first-choice spinner on the following tour of South Africa, only playing in the later matches when India fielded two spinners. Nevertheless, Harbhajan continued to do well in the ODIs, taking nine wickets at 20.44 in six matches at an economy rate of 3.53, winning his first man of the match award in the ODI form in an ODI against South Africa in Bloemfontein after taking 3/27 from his ten overs. He scored 62 runs at 15.50, including a rearguard 37 that was not enough to prevent an embarrassing 70-run loss to Kenya. After being omitted for the First Test, which India lost, his disciplinary problems continued when he was one of four Indian players fined and given a suspended one match suspension for dissent and attempting to intimidate the umpire by over-appealing in the Second Test. India managed to draw the match, but Harbhajan struggled and took 1/89 and 2/79. The off spinner continued his poor overseas Test form in what would have been the Third Test. However, India defied the ICC by playing banned batsman Virender Sehwag, while Mike Denness, the match referee who handed down the penalties, was locked out of the stadium, so the match was stripped of Test status. Harbhajan continued to be ineffective, taking only 1/104, although he showed resistance with the bat, scoring 29 and 30 when many specialist batsmen failed, as India slumped to an innings defeat.
Harbhajan’s Test fortunes improved immediately upon the start of the 2001–02 international season in India. Playing in his first international match at his home ground in Mohali, Punjab, Harbhajan took match figures of 7/110, including 5/51 in the first innings, to help India win the First Test by ten wickets against the touring English team. He continued his steady form throughout the series with another five wicket haul in the Second Test in Ahmedabad, to end with thirteen wickets at 24.53 for the series, although he went wicketless in 27.1 overs in the Third and final test. Harbhajan’s good home form persisted in the Test matches against Zimbabwe, taking twelve wickets at 19.66 in two games. In the First Test, he took 4/46 in the second innings to seal an innings victory after going wicketless in the second innings. His 2/70 and 6/62 in the Second Test in Delhi saw him named man of the match in a Test for the second time in his career. As in the first instance, he hit the winning runs, a straight-driven six, after India had lost six wickets and threatened to collapse in pursuit of a modest 122 for victory. He also performed strongly in the ODIs during the Indian season, taking twenty wickets at 19.75 in ten matches and taking his first five wicket haul in ODIs. In the five matches against England, he took ten wickets at 20.10 at an economy rate of 4.27. His best result was a 5/43 in the last of these matches, but a late collapse handed the tourists a five-run win. He did better against the Zimbabweans, taking 10 wickets in five matches at an average of 19.40 and an economy rate of 4.06. This included a 4/33 in the final match. He also scored 39 runs without defeat for the series, including a 24 not out as India were skittled for 191 in one match. As Harbhajan was ensconced in the Indian team for the first team, he only played in two RAnji Trophy matches for Punjab, taking 13 wickets at 20.01 and scoring 71 runs at 17.75.
Harbhajan’s overseas difficulties returned during the tour of the West Indies in mid-2002. He injured his shoulder while fielding in a tour match in which he started well with a total of 5/70, and was forced to miss the First Test in Guyana. After taking only six wickets at 38 upon his return to the team for the Second and Third Tests, he was dropped for the Fourth Test, but was recalled again for the Fifth Test at Sabina Park, after Kumble was injured. Despite taking improved match figures of 8/180, including 5/138 in the first innings, Harbhajan was unable to prevent an Indian defeat after the batting collapsed in the first innings. He claimed three wickets in the three match ODI series at 33.00, conceding 4.71 runs per over.
Despite his performance at Sabina Park, Harbhajan was dropped again when Kumble returned for the First Test on the tour to England at Lord’s, where the hosts prevailed. India’s coach John Wright later admitted that Harbhajan’s omission had been a mistake. Harbhajan returned for the final three Tests with moderate success, taking 12 wickets at 34.16, improving as the English summer wore on. After claiming 3/175 in the drawn Second Test, he struck form in the tour match against Essex, taking 7/83 and 1/23. He then took 3/40 and 1/56 as India levelled the series in the Third Test at Headingly, before taking 5/115 in the first innings of the Fourth Test at The Oval, as well as managing his second Test half-century of 54 at Trent Bridge in the Second Test. He ended the series with 90 runs at 22.50. For the entire tour, Harbhajan aggregated 28 wickets at 27.60. Harbhajan had modest results in the NatWest Trophy. After being dropped after one wicketless match, he was dropped and then took 4/46 against Sri Lanka in the last match before the final to ensure his retention, but went wicketless in the decider, which India won. He played in three ODIs and took four wickets at 37.25 at 4.96.
2002 Champions Trophy
The 2002 ICC Champions Trophy in Sri Lanka at the end of the tour brought moderate results with six wickets at 30.66 at an economy rate of only 3.68, and a best of 3/27 from ten overs in the first washed out final against the host nation
2003 World Cup
Harbhajan had a mixed tournament at the 2003 Cricket World Cup, taking 11 wickets at 30.45 with an economy rate of 3.92 in ten matches. He was the first-choice spinner and played in all matches but one, being dropped for the victory against arch-rivals Pakistan in the group phase. His counterpart, Kumble, played in only three matches. Harbhajan was steady throughout the tournament, never taking more than two wickets in a match, and never conceding more than 42 runs from his quota of ten overs, except in the two matches against Australia, who went through the tournament without defeat. In the group match, Harbhajan was the second highest score, with a counter-attacking 28 as India collapsed for 125, but when it was his turn to bowl, the Australians attacked him and scored 49 runs from his 44 balls without losing a wicket in a decisive nine-wicket win. In the final, Ganguly elected to field and Harbhajan was the only Indian bowler to take a wicket, taking 2/49 from eight overs. In contrast, the Australians scored at 7.38 runs per over from the other bowlers to reach 2/359, the highest total in a World Cup final, and win by 125 runs. He was the fourth leading wicket taker for India overall and his tournament bowling average was worse than those of Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra and Javagal Srinath. He finished. The season with six wickets at 14.00 at 3.65 runs per over in three matches in an ODI tournament in Bangladesh, where he was fined for abusing an umpire.
After experiencing pains in his spinning finger during the World Cup, Harbhajan was scheduled to undergo surgery in mid-2003 in Australia, but the surgery was delayed as he sought to play through the pain. He underwent physiotherapy in lieu of surgery and was declared fit for a two-match Test series at home against New Zealand in late 2003. His performance was substantially worse than his previous displays on Indian soil, taking only six wickets at an average of 50.00 as both matches ended in high-scoring draws. Aside from his debut series, it was his worst series bowling average on Indian soil. Despite a triangular ODI series against New Zealand and Australia in which he managed only four wickets at 40.50 in four matches and spent time in the sidelines, the Indian team attempted to manage his injury rather than have his finger operated on, and took him on the 2003–04 tour of Australia. As with his previous visit four years earlier, Harbhajan had an unhappy time, taking 2/159 in a tour match against Victoria. After an ineffective 1/169 in the First Test at Brisbane, his injury deteriorated and he underwent major finger surgery, sidelining him for a predicted five months. Kumble replaced him and took 24 wickets in the remaining three Tests in stark contrast of Harbhajan’s struggles in Australia. Kumble bowled India to victory in the following Test against Pakistan in Multan, taking 6/71 to reclaim his position as the No. 1 spinner.
After a seven-month layoff, Harbhajan returned to represent India in ODIs in the Asia Cup in July 2004, where he took four wickets at 39.75 in four matches at 3.97 runs per over. His performance improved on the tour to England for an ODI series against England and the 2004 ICC Champions Trophy, taking eight wickets at 14.00, conceding only 2.80 runs an over, including 3/28 against England and 3/33 against Kenya and hitting as an unbeaten 41 against England at The Oval as India’s batting collapsed to a substantial defeat.
Harbhajan’s first outings under newly appointed coach Greg Chappell came at the Indian Oil Cup in Sri Lanka in August 2005. He took five wickets at 31.40, conceding 4.02 runs per over in four matches, but was wicketless in the final, which was won by the host nation. This was followed by a tour of Zimbabwe, which was marred by tension between the new coach and Indian captain Ganguly. This broke into the public arena when Ganguly claimed that he was asked to resign as captain. Harbhajan played in all five matches in the Videocon Tri-Series involving Zimbabwe and New Zealand with little success, managing only two wickets at 99.00 at an economy rate of 4.77, both of them against an inexperienced Zimbabwe team crippled by a mass exodus of white players from the Mugabe regime. Harbhajan had a quiet Test series against Zimbabwe, taking six wickets at 31.00. He was only required to bowl 58 overs, as the majority of the Zimbabwean batsmen were removed after being unable to cope with Pathan’s swing which was likened to “Frisbees at high speed”, leaving little work for the spinners. He managed to claim his 200th Test wicket in the First Test, and in doing so became the second youngest player to reach the mark after Kapil Dev. Harbhajan’s batting was notable for an exceptionally aggressive 18-ball innings in the First Test in Bulawayo, where he struck four fours and three sixes in a cameo innings of 37.
Man with black beard in a turban, wearing a white broad brimmed sunhat, is wearing navy tracksuit pants, blue T-shirt, and carrying light blue batting pads, a cricket bat and a helmet. Spectator seats can be seen in the background.
Harbhajan Singh arrives at training.
2006 began with Harbhajan’s first tour to arch-rivals Pakistan. The First Test was a high scoring draw held in Lahore, where Harbhajan recorded his worst ever Test figures of 0/176, conceding more than five runs an over in a match where 1,089 runs were scored for the loss of just eight wickets. In a match in which many batting records fell, Harbhajan was hit for 27 runs in one over by Shahid Afridi, just one short of the world record. The second Test in Faisalabad was another high scoring draw, with the aggregate runs being the fourth highest in Test history. Harbhajan took 0/101 and 0/78. His 81 overs in the series were the fourth highest amount of overs in any Test series without taking a wicket. When he was given the opportunity to make use of the batting surface in India’s only innings in Faisalabad, he managed a brisk 38, including two sixes. Harbhajan was dropped for the Third Test in Karachi, where a green pitch promised to favor seam bowling, and Kumble was the only spinner used. After sustaining an injury, Harbhajan was sent home during the subsequent ODI series without playing a match, ending his tour without taking a wicket.
Harbhajan with India in 2006.
A return to Indian soil for the Test series against England failed to ease Harbhajan’s wicket-taking difficulties. He managed match figures of 2/172 in the drawn First Test in Nagpur, and 1/83 in the Second Test in Mohali, where his main contribution was to hit 36 runs, helping India to a first innings lead. Despite taking 3/89 and 2/40 in the Third Test in Mumbai, Harbhajan ended the series with eight wickets at an average of 48.00, nearly twice his career average on Indian soil. Despite his difficulties in Test cricket, Harbhajan’s ODI form remained strong, as he top-scored with a rearguard 37 out of 203 and then took 5/31 in a man of the match performance in the first ODI against England in Delhi, sparking a collapse of 7/47 which secured a 39-run victory. He ended the series with 12 wickets at 15.58 at an economy rate of 3.74 from five matches, and topped the wicket-taking list despite being rested for the last match, as well as having the best bowling average and economy rate. India took the series 5–1, Harbhajan taking 3/30 in their only loss.
2007 Recall to the team
Harbhajan returned to international cricket as part of India’s squad for the ICC World Twenty20 tournament in South Africa in September 2007, which India won, having been rank outsiders at the start of the tournament with many senior players opting out of the competition. He played in all six of India’s matches and totalled seven wickets at 26.00 and an economy rate of 7.91. In the opening pool match against Pakistan, Harbhajan hit the stumps in a bowl-out after scores were tied; India won 3–0 after three rounds. In the semi-final against Australia, Harbhajan bowled Michael Clarke and conceded only three runs in his final over, the 18th of the match, to turn the match towards India. The final against Pakistan was the only match in which Harbhajan did not bowl his full quota of four overs, after being struck for three sixes in his third over by Misbah-ul-Haq, who led a late charge towards the target. India prevailed by five runs in the final over, Misbah being the last man to fall.
Harbhajan was recalled to the ODI squad during India’s home season in 2006–07, which comprised series against Australia and Pakistan. In ten ODIs, he took seven wickets at 61.71 125 and an economy rate of 4.59, much higher than his career average. He scored 101 runs at 33.66 in these matches, including an unbeaten 38 in one match against Pakistan. He was then recalled to the Test squad, and with India fielding two spinners in its home series against Pakistan, Harbhajan accompanied Kumble in all three Tests. Playing in Tests for the first time in 16 months, he took 10 wickets at 44.10, much higher than his career average in India. His best result was 5/122 in the first innings of the Second Test at Eden Gardens. He toured Australia and played in three of the four Tests—India persisted with two spinners in all venues except for the Third Test at the pace-friendly WACA Ground. As he was during his previous visits to Australia, Harbhajan was ineffective with the ball. In the First Test in Melbourne, he took match figures of 3/162, before taking 4/200 in the Second Test in Sydney. Upon his recall in Adelaide, he took 1/128 in Australia’s only innings on a placid surface, ending the series with eight wickets at 61.25. However, he did manage to take Ponting’s wicket for three consecutive innings in the first two Tests, leading to much speculation about the Australian captain’s difficulties against the off spinner. After the third dismissal in the Sydney Test, Harbhajan celebrated by running a distance before twice rolling over on the ground. Harbhajan’s most noted contribution with the bat came in the Second Test when he came to the crease with India at 345/7, still 118 runs behind Australia, after a middle-order collapse of 4/52. He made 63 runs in a 129-run partnership with Tendulkar, which enabled India to gain a first-innings lead. In the Fourth Test, he came to the crease at 7/359 and scored 63 in a 107-run rearguard partnership with captain Kumble, allowing India to reach 529. He failed to reach double figures in his four other innings and ended with 142 runs at 23.66.
Harbhajan returned to international cricket for the tour of Sri Lanka in July and August. In the First Test at Colombo, he took 2/149 as Sri Lanka amassed 600/6 declared and won by an innings. In the Second Test in Galle, he took 6/102 to help India take a first innings lead of 37 and then took 4/51 in the second innings to help India level the series with a 170-run win. It was his fifth ten-wicket match haul and his first outside India. He was again India’s leading wicket-taker in the Third Test defeat, with 3/104 and 1/44. He was India’s leading wicket-taker with 16 scalps at 28.12, twice as many the second most-prolific Indian. In the subsequent ODI series, he played in the first four matches, taking six wickets at 18.83 at an economy rate of 3.80, including 3/40 in the win in the fourth match, which sealed the series. He was rested from the final dead rubber.
At the start of the Indian season, Harbhajan took 2/32 and 4/31 as the Rest of India defeated Delhi in the Irani Trophy. This was followed by the First Test against Australia in Bangalore. Harbhajan took Ponting’s wicket in taking 1/103 in the first innings, but not before the Australian captain had scored 123. In reply to Australia’s 430, India were in trouble at 195/6 when Harbhajan came in to bat. He scored a rearguard 54, putting on 80 with fellow bowler Zaheer Khan, to reduce India’s deficit to 70. He then took 2/76 in the second innings as the match ended in a draw. Ponting later cited Harbhajan and Zaheer’s partnership as the passage of play that prevented an Australian win. In the Second Test at his home ground in Mohali, Harbhajan took 2/60 in the first innings as India took a 201-run first innings lead. In the second innings Australia were chasing 516 for victory and had started aggressively, reaching 49/0 after seven overs. Harbhajan was introduced into the attack and removed Hayden and Simon Katich in his first over and then Mike Hussey in his next. This triggered Australia’s collapse to 58/5 and their eventual defeat by 320 runs. Harbhajan was unable to find a fourth wicket, which would have seen him reach 300 Test wickets on his home ground, and ended with 3/36. He was then ruled out of the drawn Third Test because of a toe injury. Harbhajan returned for the Fourth Test in Nagpur and dismissed Ponting for the tenth time in Tests in the first innings to register his 300th wicket. He ended with 3/94 as India took an 86-run lead. However, a batting collapse meant that India were 6/166 at tea on day four, only 252 runs ahead and facing possible defeat if Australia could clean up the tail quickly. Harbhajan then scored 52, combining in a 107-run partnership with Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni to guide India out of trouble. India then successfully defended the target of 380 to win by 172 runs, with Harbhajan taking 4/64 including top-scorer Hayden and the final wicket
Harbhajan Singh Explore Harbhajan Singh’s performance Batting and fielding averages
Mat Inns NO Runs HS Ave BF SR 100 50 4s 6s Ct St
Tests Insights on test 103 145 23 2224 115 18.22 3432 64.80 2 9 277 42 42 0
ODIs Insights on odi 236 128 35 1237 49 13.30 1526 81.06 0 0 92 35 71 0
T20Is Insights on t20i 28 13 5 108 21 13.50 87 124.13 0 0 11 4 7 0
First-class 198 268 46 4255 115 19.16 2 15 100 0
List A 334 194 54 2134 79* 15.24 0 2 112 0
T20s Insights on t20 251 149 49 1501 78 15.01 1154 130.06 0 2 141 73 77 0
Mat Inns Balls Runs Wkts BBI BBM Ave Econ SR 4w 5w 10
Tests Insights on test 103 190 28580 13537 417 8/84 15/217 32.46 2.84 68.5 16 25 5
ODIs Insights on odi 236 227 12479 8973 269 5/31 5/31 33.35 4.31 46.3 2 3 0
T20Is Insights on t20i 28 27 612 633 25 4/12 4/12 25.32 6.20 24.4 1 0 0
First-class 198 48055 22652 780 8/84 29.04 2.82 61.6 41 8
List A 334 17533 12698 393 5/31 5/31 32.31 4.34 44.6 5 4 0
T20s Insights on t20 251 239 5123 5744 219 5/18 5/18 26.22 6.72 23.3 3 1 0
Test debut India v Australia at Bengaluru, Mar 25-28, 1998 scorecard
Last Test Sri Lanka v India at Galle, Aug 12-15, 2015 scorecard
ODI debut India v New Zealand at Sharjah, Apr 17, 1998 scorecard
Last ODI India v South Africa at Mumbai, Oct 25, 2015 scorecard
T20I debut South Africa v India at Johannesburg, Dec 1, 2006 scorecard
Last T20I India v United Arab Emirates at Dhaka, Mar 3, 2016 scorecard
First-class debut 1997/98
Last First-class Punjab v Services at Amritsar, Nov 25-28, 2017 scorecard
List A debut 1997/98
Last List a India A v Tamil Nadu at Visakhapatnam, Mar 27, 2017 scorecard
T20s debut Kent v Surrey at Buckingham, Jun 22, 2005 scorecard
Last T20s Sunrisers Hyderabad v Chennai Super Kings at Mumbai, May 22, 2018 scorecard
Bat & Bowl Team Opposition Ground Match Date Scorecard
2 Super Kings V Sunrisers Mumbai 22 May 2018 T20
0/13, 19 Super Kings v Kings XI Pune 20 May 2018 T20
0/24 Super Kings v Daredevils Delhi 18 May 2018 T20
0/26 Super Kings v Sunrisers Pune 13 May 2018 T20
1/29 Super Kings v Royals Jaipur 11 May 2018 T20
2/22 Super Kings v RCB Pune 5 May 2018 T20
1/20 Super Kings v KKR Kolkata 3 May 2018 T20
0/26 Super Kings v Daredevils Pune 30 Apr 2018 T20
1/20 Super Kings v Mum Indians Pune 28 Apr 2018 T20
0/24 Super Kings v RCB Bengaluru 25 Apr 2018 T20