After a memorable career that included 711 international wickets, Harbhajan Singh ended it with his retirement on Friday. He played 23 years of international cricket. The off-spinner was a part of two of the biggest achievements of team India to date which were the 2007 ICC World T20 world cup and the 2011 ODI World cup. Over the course of his career, Harbhajan has taken 417 wickets in 103 Tests, 269 wickets in 236 One Day Internationals, and 25 in 28 Twenty20 Internationals.
It was in 2016 that Harbhajan played his last T20I for the national team, but he continued to represent Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League (IPL). Ascending to No. 4 in the list of wicket-takers in Test cricket, the 41-year-old off-spinner finished his career as India’s fourth-highest wicket-taker in that format, followed by Kapil Dev, Anil Kumble, and R Ashwin. It should be noted that with R Ashwin taking over the helm of the team’s spinner after the 2011 World Cup, Harbhajan was no longer a regular face of the Indian setup. Having stepped out of the side unceremoniously, Harbhajan recalls being left with numerous questions.
”When a player takes over 400 wickets but then is not given a chance or is not considered or is not informed why they have been dropped, many questions are raised. I have asked many people about his dropout from the team but didn’t receive any response,” stated Harbhajan in a recent interview. Having that support is always appreciated. ”I would have retired sooner had I been supported at the right time, since I was 31 when I reached the 400 wicket mark, but I did get the support at the right time. I would have reached 500 wickets in 3-4 years more if I had played longer,” Harbhajan concluded.