Veteran spinner Harbhajan Singh retires from all formats of cricket
New Delhi, December 24, 2021
"All good things come to an end and today as I bid adieu to the game that has given me everything in life, I would like to thank everyone who made this 23-year-long journey beautiful and memorable. My heartfelt thank you, Grateful." With this tweet, veteran off-spinner Harbhajan Singh announced his retirement from all forms of cricket on Friday.
The first Indian to take a hat-trick in Test cricket -- against Australia at Eden Gardens in 2001 -- took to social media to make this announcement.
“There comes a time in life where we have to take a tough decision, you have to move forward in life. I was waiting for the last few years to make this announcement public In my mind, I retired earlier but I am making the announcement today," he said.
"My journey from the streets of Jalandhar to become the Turnabator for Team India has been a beautiful one," he said, adding, “There is no bigger motivation for me in life than stepping out on the field, wearing the India jersey."
Harbhajan Singh played in 103 Tests, 236 ODIs and 28 T20Is, claiming 417, 269 and 25 wickets in these formats respectively. He also scored 3,569 runs which included two centuries and nine fifties.
He made his debut during an ODI against New Zealand at Sharjah in 1998, last played for the country in March, 2016 during a T20I against the UAE at Dhaka.
The 41-year-old spinner was part of India's historic T20 World Cup win in 2007, and ODI World Cup in 2011.
He made his Test debut against Australia in 1998 but hogged the limelight in the 2001 Test series which India hosted Steve Waugh’s all conquering Australian side. The spinner picked 32 wickets, becoming the first Indian to take a Test hat-trick on his way to the total. He became important player for India in all formats of the game for nearly a decade.
In the IPL across 13 seasons, he figured in 183 matches for Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings, and Kolkata Knight Riders, claiming 150 wickets.
Harbhajan has also had his fair share of controversies, most prominently the "Monkey-gate" when India toured Australia in 2007-08.
"If you ask me about my cricket career, my first real happiness was the hat-trick I took in Kolkata, becoming the first Indian bowler to do so in a Test match. I also got 32 wickets in the three Tests in that series, which is still a record," Harbhajan said.
"Following this, the T20 World Cup win 2007 and the [ODI] World Cup win in 2011 were most important for me. Those were moments that I can neither forget nor express in words as to how big that happiness was for me."he added.
"Like every [Indian] cricketer, even I wished to bid goodbye in an India jersey, but fate had something else in store for me. Irrespective of the side I represented, I have always given my 100% commitment to ensure my team finishes on top - whether it was India, Punjab, Mumbai Indians, CSK [Chennai Super Kings], KKR or the county teams of Surrey and Essex."
Cricket was, is and will always be an important part of my life. I have served Indian cricket for years, and will continue to strive to serve them in the future," he said. "I have no idea about the future, but whatever I am today is because of cricket. I will be immensely happy if I can be of help to Indian cricket in any role in the future."
"Now I begin a new chapter in my life, which starts with its own challenges. Believe me, your Turbanator is ready for the examination! Just keep showering your love on me," he concluded