He was one of the toughest members in Indian cricket who never loved to lose. The man who never gave up. Yes, we are talking about Harbhajan Singh, the spinning poster boy India has ever produced. He led the spinning attack from the front at number of occasions and took India to a number of glorifying wins. Here we take a look at his inspiring tale.
Harbhajan Singh played his first test in 1998 against Aussies. Since then he is known for his wonderful bowling. His aggressive bowling and attitude on pitch made many batsmen of the world shiver. Did you know that Harbhajan started as a batsman in domestic career? However, he switched on to bowling after his first coach died. He is Harbhajan Singh’s incredible biography:
Date of Birth
July 3, 1980
Teams Played for
India, Punjab, Surrey, Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings
Harbhajan Singh Biography
Harbhajan Singh Plaha was born to Sardar Sardev Singh Plaha and Avtar Kaur on July 3, 1980, in Jalandhar, Punjab. His father was a businessman and owned a ball bearing factory, while his mother Avtar Kaur was a housewife. Harbhajan has five sisters. He was in line to inherit the family business but his dad forced him to concentrate on cricket.
Before training under coach Davinder Arora as a spin bowler, Bhajji wanted to become a batsman and was training at Charanjit Singh Bhullar. It was after Bhullar’s death that Harbhajan started moving towards off-spin bowling. It was his father who wanted his son to don the national jersey one day.
Harbhajan Singh made his domestic debut for the state of Punjab Under-16s team at the age of 15 in 1995 against Haryana. With 32 wickets and 96 runs with his hands, he was selected for the North Zone Under-16s team and was also asked to join the national Under-19 youth team for a ODI game against South Africa.
Later, Harbhajan was promoted to the Punjab Under-19s and made his first-class debut against Services during Ranji Trophy 1997-98. Bhajji later represented India in the Under-19 World Cup in January 1998.
Harbhajan Singh was called in to play for the Indian Board President’s XI against Australian in 1997 Test series. Due to his poor performance in the practice match, he was omitted from the first two Tests. He made his international debut in the third Test and managed only one wicket. Harbhajan made his ODI debut against New Zealand in Sharjah in April.
He received a surprise call from Sourav Ganguly asking to lead the spin attack against Australia in the 2001 Border-Gavaskar Trophy. He bagged 32 wickets in the series. Harbhajan Singh suffered a finger injury during the World Cup 2003 but decided to delay the. However, his form was turning bad to worse, he had to undergo a major surgery which sidelined him for seven months.
After injury, his form was on and off. Singh started struggling with his form in 2006 and was dropped after failing to perform in the 2007 World Cup. He however helped India win the ICC World Twenty20 tournament. Throughout the season, he gave many match-winning performances. From 2007 to 2010, he couldn’t maintain fix spot in Indian squad. He made his comeback to World Cup team of 2011 thanks to his bowling great in IPL. But after the World Cup he was fighting with his form as a result couldn’t kept his position fix in the Indian roaster.
Harbhajan found success in his career’s later half in Indian cricketing carnival. Yes, we are talking about his stint in IPL. He played as a vital clog in the success of the Mumbai franchise who had won the title four times. Bhajji was a regular starter of the team since 2008 and even captained the side. He bagged 24 wickets in the 2013 season. After a decade long association, Mumbai Indians released him and he signed a deal with Chennai Super Kings. Harbhajan became a bowler who would be more economical with some quick wickets in IPL.
Harbhajan Singh Controversies
No matter he was one of the spin wizard of India, Harbhajan’s career was riddled with many controversies. After the ugly spat between Sourav Ganguly and coach Greg Chappell in 2005, Bhajji openly spoke against the coach and defended his skipper. Harbhajan said that Chappell’s methods were strict and there was ‘fear and insecurity’ in the camp. Later in 2008, he was founded in one more controversy known as ‘Monkeygate’. Harbhajan was charged with a Level 3 charged for racially abusing Australian cricketer Andrew Symonds when he allegedly called the all-rounder ‘monkey’.
Harbhajan as said earlier is one of the famous players in IPL. The season of 2008 will be remembered for Harbhajan slapping Sreesanth. Bhajji was leading the Mumbai Indians (MI) slapped Sreesanth after the match between MI and Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) in Mohali. He was not only fined his match fee for the game but he was suspended for the remainder games.
Harbhajan married Bollywood actress Geeta Basra in 2015. They are blessed with a girl whom they have named: Hinaya. He has four elder sisters and one younger sister.
Harbhajan Singh Net worth
Harbhajan earned good amount of money from his professional career. Being a well-known Indian athlete, he still endorses several brands. Moreover, back in 2017, his net worth is estimated to be around Rs 69 crore. He was signed by IPL franchise Chennai Super Kings in 2018 from Mumbai Indians at the price of Rs two crore. Talking about his love for cars, Singh has Hummer 4×4 multiplayer vehicle. Apart from this powerful SUV he is often seen in his Audi 7 and BMW too. He resides in a plush area of Chandigarh and has some property in Mumbai too.
Records and achievements
- Bhajji is the first Indian to bag a hat-trick in Test cricket in 2001.
- He has the second-highest number of Test wickets by an off spinner, behind Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralitharan.
- Harbhajan was awarded with the Arjuna Award in 2003.
- In 2009, he was conferred the Padma Shri Award.
- He became the first no. 8 batsman to score back-to-back Test centuries.
- Harbhajan is the youngest Indian to claim 400 wickets in history of Test.
Lesser known facts about Harbhajan Singh
- In 2002, Harbhajan was offered the post of DSP in Punjab Police.
- He initially trained as a batsman but later shifted to spin bowling.
- Punjab Da Puttar can eat endless aloo paranthas made by his mother with yoghurt.
- In 2008,Bhajji took part in a dance reality show ‘Ek Haseena Ek Khiladi’ with tollywood actress Mona Singh.
- After his father’s death, he considered quitting cricket and moving to the USA to drive trucks for a living as he had to support his family.
- He appeared in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling’s Indian promotion, Ring Ka King.
From 2016, Harbhajan hasn’t donned national jersey in any format and it seems a difficult road for a comeback. He made a few steps to get back but could never seal his place in the Indian team. His last international match was against United Arab Emirates in the Asia Cup in 2016. Although he has not announced retirement, his career is all but over. With Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, R Ashwin handling the responsibility of spin department, its next to hard for Harbhajan to make a comeback. Remember folks, he is 38 and hope of comeback is extremely dim.