Harbhajan Singh, the former India spin legend opened up on the final stages of his international career and how the lack of support from the BCCI and ‘external factors’ pushed him out of the national reckoning despite the speed with which he was moving ahead as a bowler, following his retirement.
Not shy of taking names, Harbhajan Singh pointed out how MS Dhoni enjoyed unmatched support from the board unlike other players and how there’s a possibility of many villains should a biopic be made on his career someday.
Harbhajan Singh Has Been Good Friends With MS Dhoni
The remarks raised eyebrows and gave more credence to the rumours surrounding his alleged frosty relationship with MS Dhoni. However, in an exclusive conversation, Harbhajan Singh has dismissed any such notions and claims he in fact has been good friends with the legendary captain with which he won the 2007 T20 World Cup and 2011 ODI World Cup.
“Very nice. I am not married to him!” pat came Harbhajan’s reply when enquired about his rapport with Dhoni.
When pressed further on his recent comments on MS Dhoni, Harbhajan Singh said it’s not in his control how others interpret his quotes but did question the way things changed post-2012 – and not just for him but other star players of that era.
“See, everyone interprets a quote differently. I just wanted to convey that a lot of things could have been better post 2012. (Virender) Sehwag, me, Yuvraj (Singh), (Gautam) Gambhir could have retired playing for Indian team since all of them were active in IPL as well.
“It is ironical that the Champions of the 2011 team never played together again! Why? Only few of them played in 2015 World Cup, why?” he asked.
Harbhajan Singh said he doesn’t have any complaints against MS Dhoni and referred to the legendary wicketkeeper-batter as a “good friend”.
The 2011 World Cup-winning squad of India consisting of superstars like Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, MS Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh, and Zaheer Khan among others made India overwhelming favourites right from the start of the tournament. While contributions came from each individual, Yuvraj Singh had a stunning campaign in particular and swept the Man of the Tournament trophy for his 362 runs and 15 wickets.
Gautam Gambhir was one of the key architects of India’s historic win in the final with an unbeaten 97 off 122 balls. He set the stage for MS Dhoni to seal the victory with an iconic six in the penultimate over. MS Dhoni too played a crucial role in the final with his sublime 91 off 79 balls as he led from the front under pressure.
Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Munaf Patel, and S Sreesanth were the players who were part of the iconic final but never made it together in the XI for another game for India.
Harbhajan Singh Has No Complaints Against MS Dhoni But Has Complaints To The BCCI And Selectors Who Didn’t Do Justice To Their Roles
The 41-year-old does say that while he has no complaints against MS Dhoni, he does have a few questions for the BCCI and selectors of that time.
“No, not at all. I have no complaints against MS. In fact, he has been a good friend all these years. I have complaint to the BCCI, the sarkar (government) of that time. I call BCCI as sarkar! The selectors of that time didn’t do justice to their roles. They didn’t allow the team to be united,” he said.
“What was the point of bringing in new guys when the greats were still around and delivering? I once confronted the selectors on this and their reply was it wasn’t in their hands and then I asked why they are the selectors, then?” he added.
Harbhajan Singh has played a lot of cricket under MS Dhoni and was even a member of India’s two World Cup-winning squads – the 2007 T20 World Cup and the 2011 ODI World Cup. To be precise, Harbhajan Singh has played 31 Tests, 77 ODIs and 25 T20Is under MS Dhoni’s leadership. The off-spinner, however, slowly started to lose his spot to Ravichandran Ashwin post the 2011 World Cup.